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Supreme Court Janus Ruling May Signal Win For Connecticut State Trooper Suit

Jacquelyn Martin
Illinois government employee Mark Janus, center, outside the Supreme Court in Washington in February. In a financial blow to labor, the court ruled in June that states can't force government workers to pay union fees.

Last week’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that government workers can’t be forced to pay union dues is good news for four Connecticut state troopers seeking thousands of dollars in reimbursement from the state. That’s according to a lawyer representing the troopers who opted out of the Connecticut State Police Union.

Attorney W. James Young of the Virginia-based National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is the lawyer representing the troopers. He says he’s currently engaged in fairly substantial pre-trial settlement negotiations before the trial begins in September. Young says his hope is that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling will help his clients get back about $750 a year deducted from their paychecks for union dues, plus interest and fees.

“The Supreme Court ruled that forcing public employees to pay monies to a labor union as a condition of employment violates their First Amendment rights. And we therefore think that it makes the outcome of this case a foregone conclusion...in our favor.”

Young urged Connecticut to settle with his clients before the trial begins in September.

“And I think it’s in interest of all parties, not the least of which is the taxpayers of the State of Connecticut, since this is an attorney’s fees case, to avoid the time and expense of a trial. For which, as I said, the outcome is a foregone conclusion. And it would just be more expense imposed on the taxpayers and frankly the Connecticut State Police Union.”

State Attorney General George Jepsen released a statement saying he could not comment on pending litigation. Jepsen, who used to be a labor attorney, said from a more general and larger policy standpoint, it does not seem fair to allow some individuals to enjoy the benefits of union representation without contributing in support of the union.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.