New York’s largest state and local government employee union is ending its unconstitutional collection of mandatory agency fees from day-care providers who receive subsidies from the state, according to a letter the union has sent to providers.
The action by the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) came a few weeks after the Empire Center publicly questioned whether the state and New York City were complying with the June US Supreme Court ruling in Harris v. Quinn.
CSEA’s letter to day-care providers was made public as part of a lawsuit filed in federal court Tuesday by a group of providers from Onondaga County who are seeking to recoup the fees, which were intercepted from child care subsidy payments received from the state and range from $420 to more than $700 per year. The providers are being represented by the National Right to Work Foundation.
According to CSEA, providers will be refunded their agency fees retroactive to July 1, the day after the Supreme Court ruled in Harris that fee collection schemes akin to CSEA’s were unconstitutional. The Onondaga providers are seeking up to three years of agency fee refunds, the most allowed by law, and looking for the court to strike down the statute under which they were forced to pay the fees in the first place.
CSEA represents about 22,000 providers, but it appears the refund is being offered only to those individuals who refused CSEA’s overtures and elected not to formally join the union. If the pattern throughout government is any guide, given no choice but to pay the full amount either as dues or an agency fee, at least 90 percent probably opted to join the union.
Will the union or the state be informing the providers that they could save the money by quitting the union? The answer is unclear.
Also unclear is the status of dues and agency fee collections by the United Federation of Teachers, which represents approximately 28,000 family child care providers in New York City under the same unconstitutional statute.