The State of Alaska has filed a lawsuit to clarify its decision to stop taking union dues from employee paychecks.

In a release sent Monday by the Department of Law, the attorney general said the Department of Administration had received several requests by state employees to stop deducting union dues from their paychecks.

State employees belong to the Alaska State Employees Association. The union objected the DOA's decision and believes it is against the law and threatened litigation.

Alaska Attorney General Kevin Clarkson filed a lawsuit asking the court to clarify the legality behind the state's decision to stop deducting the dues from employee paychecks. 

"The Supreme Court made it clear in Janus that public employees have the freedom to pay union dues or not," Clarkson said in the release. "Janus also requires that the State have clear and compelling evidence of a state employee’s choice to pay union dues. If the State receives a direct request to stop paying union dues, the State must honor that request or else it would be violating the employee’s First Amendment right."

Clarkson had released an opinion after reevaluating Janus v. AFSCME and found some of the state's practices didn't comply with the U.S. Supreme Court's decision. The DOA acted in accordance with the opinion after facing several requests from employees.

Following the announcement of the state's lawsuit,  ASEA leaders criticized the decision by Gov. Dunleavy's administration and responded saying the state has misinterpreted the Supreme Court ruling.

“The Janus decision solely involves non-union members, plain and simple, and ASEA has worked diligently to comply with the new law. In contrast, Gov. Dunleavy’s actions [violate] the Supreme Court decision and turns a blind eye to the contract he signed with us,” said Jake Metcalfe, Executive Director for the Alaska State Employees Association/AFSCME, Local 52. “Dunleavy is interfering with his employees’ contractual rights, violating their First Amendment rights and attempting to take all power away from them. This is ‘big brother’ government at its worst. His actions are shameful.”

The lawsuit filed by the state looks to clarify its decision to confirm its within the employees' legal rights to have their wages protected. 

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