'Right To Work' Group Threatens To Sue Ohio Over Union Fees

Jul 9, 2018

A national group that advocates for so-called “Right to Work” policies is threatening to sue Ohio if it doesn’t stop collecting dues from non-unionized state workers.

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that public sector unions cannot mandate fees for employees who aren’t members, even if they’re covered by collective bargaining deals. But Ohio’s largest public employee union says the threat is unnecessary – and went to the wrong agency anyway.

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation sent a letter to state Treasurer Josh Mandel, demanding a halt to mandatory “shop fees” being deducted from non-union members’ paychecks.

But Chris Mabe with the Ohio Civil Service Employees Union says the Treasurer’s Office doesn’t handle such issues. And he said the OCSEA had already sent its own letter to the state after the “Janus v. AFSCME” decision.

“When the Supreme Court – for lack of a better term – slapped the gavel, we were already putting in process to abide by the law here," Mabe said.

Mabe said the lawsuit threat came from a D.C.-based group, not from disgruntled state workers.

He estimates around 900 workers, or about 3 percent, of the OCSEA’s 30,000 members will no longer see such “fair share payments” deducted from their checks.

Ohio Republican leaders say the Supreme Court decision means they won’t need to pass “Right to Work” bills, at least for the public sector. Democrats have said legislators need to find ways to protect unions.