SAN DIEGO, Calif. (February 25, 2002) — By certifying a federal suit as a class action, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California has allowed 3,200 California state employees to challenge the money confiscated for politics and other activities by the Davis Administration and Professional Engineers in California Government (PECG) union officials. National Right to Work Foundation attorneys filed the class-action suit, Wagner v. PECG, in September 1999 on behalf of Richard Wagner, an investigator for the California Air Resources Board in the Sacramento area, and Kristin Schwall, a water quality engineer from San Diego. They filed the complaint on behalf of all non-member government workers under the PECG’s statewide memorandum of understanding (MOU) – also known as a collective bargaining agreement – who have been illegally forced to pay for union political activities. On April 1, 1999, then newly elected Governor Gray Davis signed the MOU which forced all workers under the agreement to pay illegally high dues to PECG union officials. “Governor Davis has done everything possible to payoff California’s union officials, at the expense of the working men and women of this state,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation, which is providing free legal aid to the California employees. The PECG is one of California’s most politically active unions. Union bosses have seized union dues and used them to fund its ballot initiatives and other political activities. According to the union’s own records, it has been estimated that over one-third of PECG’s $3.2 million annual budget is used for political activities. According to the constitutional protections construed by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Foundation-won decisions of Abood v. Detroit Board of Education and Lehnert v. Ferris Faculty Association, the union may not collect compulsory dues spent on activities unrelated to collective bargaining. Politics, lobbying, organizing, public relations, and other non-bargaining activities are explicitly non-chargeable to employees who have exercised their right to refrain from union membership. The employees are asking the court to provide the abused workers with retroactive refunds, with interest, on all dues illegally collected since April 1, 1999.