SACRAMENTO, Calif.—California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law Sept. 19 declaring that public-employee unions cannot be forced to reimburse nonmembers for “fair share fees” paid before the Supreme Court ruled them unconstitutional last June. Several lawsuits demanding millions of dollars in refunds have been filed against unions in the state, including the California State University Employees Union and SEIU Local 1000, the largest state-government union. They charge that the unions never had a right to charge nonmembers for representation, because the Court held that bargaining was political activity they could not be forced to subsidize. “When any business or industry complies with the law, they shouldn’t be held liable for what they were doing that was in full compliance with the law,” responded SEIU Local 1000 general counsel Anne Giese, for state government’s largest union. Patrick Semmens of the National Right to Work Foundation, one of the groups filing the lawsuits, told the Sacramento Bee that the law was  “a cynical legislative giveaway to union bosses.” The measure, however, applies only to lawsuits filed in state court, not federal court. Read more


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