Chicago, Cook County employees will see more money in their paychecks

Chicago, Cook County employees will see more money in their paychecks

At least 730 Cook County and 646 Chicago employees have been freed from paying forced union fees following the Janus v. AFSCME decision.

Workers for the city of Chicago and Cook County are already feeling the effect of the U.S. Supreme Court’s June decision in Janus v. AFSCME.

On June 27, the court declared that forced union fees violate the First Amendment rights of government workers.

Since then, at least 730 county employees have already stopped paying forced fees to the union, according to Frank Shuftan, a spokesman for Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

Similarly, The Daily Line reported on July 16 that at least 646 city employees have stopped paying forced fees to their unions. Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office declined to confirm the number.

Prior to the court’s decision, state and local government workers who opted out of union membership still had to pay “fair share” fees to the union, which could amount to as much as 100 percent of full dues.

That changes under Janus. The court ruled that paying fees to a union can no longer be a condition of government employment. And that means government workers finally get to choose where to direct their hard-earned money.

Unless an employee gives clear and affirmative consent, it is unconstitutional for an employer to transfer any dues or fees from the employee’s paycheck to the union.

If you are a government employee who doesn’t like the way the union represents you, or the way the union focuses on politics, or if you simply want to keep more of your paycheck to spend on things you care about, you can take action to secure this newly restored right.

State and local Illinois government employers should immediately stop deducting member dues or fees from employee paychecks until new opt-in forms are signed. But because some employers may not act quickly – and because unions may attempt to delay or thwart such action – it is best that you take steps to opt out of the union and alert your employer to see a more immediate effect. And that may apply to fair share payers as well.

Below is an outline of what you need to do to fully opt out of union fees.

How do I opt out of union fees?

Prior to Janus, the process of opting out varied depending on the union, and some unions restricted opting out to certain times of the year.

Because some employers and unions may attempt to follow past procedures, we encourage you to take the following steps:

Step 1:  Notify the union in writing that you are resigning from union membership.

Step 2: Notify your employer that you are no longer a union member and, therefore, you withdraw any authorization for dues or fees to be deducted from your paycheck.

Some government unions and employers previously placed limits on when you can execute Step 2 and may attempt to enforce such procedures. Under Janus, those procedures are obsolete and should not be required.

For more detailed information, visit leavemyunion.com.

What if I am already a fair share payer? 

If you think you are a fair share payer but aren’t sure, we encourage you to complete both Steps 1 and 2.

If you know you are a fair share payer, you have already completed Step 1 (opting out of the union). But to best ensure your employer stops deducting union fees from your paycheck immediately, we encourage you to complete Step 2:

Step 2: Notify your employer that you are no longer a union member and, therefore, you withdraw any authorization for dues or fees to be deducted from your paycheck.

For further information, visit leavemyunion.com.

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