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New Mexico, CWA Settle Lawsuit Against Union Fees

October 28, 2019

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

SANTA FE, N.M.—The state of New Mexico and the Communications Workers of America have agreed to pay about $41,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit over the collection of fees for union representation. U.S. District Judge Martha Vazquez dismissed the suit Oct. 21 after the settlement was approved. Filed by information technology technician David McCutcheon and more than 60 other state employees with backing from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, the suit argued that the state and union’s policy of letting workers opt out of paying union fees only during a short period each year violated the Supreme Court’s 2018 Janus decision, which held that public-sector employees could not be compelled to cover the costs of representation. Anti-union groups have filed similar suits in several states since that decision, without much success. Both the state and the CWA said they had not violated the law, but agreed to settle to avoid the costs of lengthy litigation. A group connected to the CWA will refund about $16,000 in union fees to the plaintiffs, and pay $25,000 to the National Right to Work Foundation to cover legal costs. Read more

October 28, 2019

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