Las Vegas Police Officer Melodie DePierro is the latest in a growing line of public sector employees suing in federal court to demand recognition of their rights under a 2018 Supreme Court decision.
DePierro’s action was filed in the U.S. District Court for Nevada against the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) and the local Police Protective Association (PPA) union.
DePierro noted in her suit that the department’s monopoly bargaining agreement with the union only allowed a 20-day window of opportunity to request agency fee refunds and that she had never agreed to the deduction in the first place.
Right-to-work advocates cheered Janus as a landmark decision that would prompt millions of employees at all levels of government to demand an end to hundreds of millions of dollars in agency fees that helped fund partisan union political activities with which they disagreed.
There was a minor drop in local government employee union membership, but totals for state and federal sectors increased slightly.
DePierro’s lawsuit is one of many filed since June 2018 by attorneys for the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation (NRTWLDF) seeking enforcement of the Janus decision. It was NRTWLDF attorneys who won the Janus decision.
Getting a firm fix on union membership, however, is further complicated by the fact that “BLS data do not provide any information on whether workers are paying fair-share fees, simply whether they are members of a union or represented by a union,” EPI Director of Policy Heidi Shierholz told The Epoch Times on Aug. 31.
“As a result, it is difficult to determine the impact of Janus from BLS data. One thing that is clear, however, is that public-sector unions have not seen an unusual decline in membership since the Janus decision.”
“Instead of respecting her First Amendment Janus rights, PPA union bosses have decided to keep imposing an unconstitutional policy on her just to keep her hard-earned money rolling into their coffers,” NRTWLDF President Mark Mix said in a statement announcing the suit.
“The High Court made perfectly clear in Janus that affirmative consent from employees is required for any dues deductions to occur. Yet, PPA union bosses are clearly violating that standard here,” Mix said.
“Janus clearly recognized that a union must obtain an employee's clear, voluntary, and knowing consent to any paycheck deductions, but did not describe a particular infrastructure that would satisfy that standard," he said.
“As a result, states have had to examine the law to develop an appropriate solution. We are now beginning to see the results of that process, with other states likely to follow suit in the near future."
“If more states follow Michigan’s lead and adopt annual dues-deduction consent requirements, that exodus could accelerate, and union revenue could plummet,” Delie wrote.
The NEA has made nearly $13 million in campaign contributions thus far in 2020.
The pace at which other states clear the path for Janus recognition is likely to be strongly influenced by the NRTWLDF’s multiple lawsuits, especially those such as DePierro’s targeting “window periods.”