Free Speech 

SEIU Officials, Santa Clara County Face Class-Action Lawsuit for Violating Employees' Rights

News Release

SEIU Officials, Santa Clara County Face Class-Action Lawsuit for Violating Employees' Rights

Relying on landmark Knox Supreme Court decision, county employees seek to end automatic dues deduction for union politics

San Jose, CA (December 3, 2014) – Two Santa Clara Valley Medical Center employees have filed a federal class-action lawsuit against a local union and the county that seeks to expand public employees' right to refrain from paying union dues used for union politics.

With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation-provided staff attorneys, San Jose-area county employees Jeffrey Lum and Andrew Li filed the lawsuit with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California's San Jose Division.

Lum and Li are not formal union members in the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 521. Because California does not have a Right to Work law, workers can be required to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment. However, nonmember workers have the right to refrain from paying for union boss politics and many other activities not related to bargaining with their employer.

Although Lum and Li are not union members, SEIU and county officials continue to deduct an amount equal to full union dues from their paychecks as if they were.

Click here to read the full release.

Air Traffic Controller Wins Federal Settlement from Government Union Bosses After Overt Religious Discrimination

News Release

Air Traffic Controller Wins Federal Settlement from Government Union Bosses After Overt Religious Discrimination

Union had worker transferred to force him to work on Saturday, violating his religious beliefs and threatening his livelihood

Potomac, VA (July 29, 2014) – With the help of National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) employee has won a federal settlement from a government union that used his religious beliefs to punish him for resigning his union membership.

Last year, Matthew Gray, a Seventh-day Adventist who works at the FAA's Potomac facility, filed a federal charge with the Federal Labor Relations Authority against the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) union.

Gray filed the charge after he was informed by a union official that he was being removed from his detail and transferred to another in which he would have to work on Saturdays as punishment for resigning from the union. Gray resigned union membership because he believes union membership is contrary to his faith.

Click here to read the full release.

WSJ: New Foundation-won Supreme Court Precedent Harbinger of More Pro-Worker Decisions?

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down an illegal Service Employees International Union (SEIU) political fee charged to California state workers without notice and opportunity to opt out.

And now for the first time, the Court is requiring union officials to obtain affirmative consent from workers before they increase union dues and fees or slap workers with "special assessments" for union boss political spending.

Not only is this Foundation victory a victory for the First Amendment principles of free speech and free association, but Justice Samuel Alito acknowledged the tension the Court has created by allowing Big Labor to get away with so much for so long.

The very fact that a five-member majority of the U.S. Supreme Court openly questioned Big Labor's incredible power to force workers info forced-dues payments suggests Big Labor has overplayed its hand and the Court may be willing to hear more cases to reconsider some of its pro-Big Labor precedents and possibly even freeing workers from the shackles of forced unionism. Via the Wall Street Journal:

Writing for a five-member majority, however, Justice Samuel Alito raises larger questions about compulsory union dues and individual rights. Shouldn't the people who choose not to join a union, he asks, have to opt into political and ideological activities that they may presumably dispute—rather than opt out? "Which side should bear the risk?" he continues. "The answer is obvious: the side whose constitutional rights are not at stake."

Thus Knox may provide an opening to revisit some of the Court's precedents that force people to subsidize political views or escapades contrary to their values—not to mention the First Amendment. Stay tuned.

Union Bosses Set Forest Fire Captain’s Religious Rights Ablaze

News Release

Union Bosses Set Forest Fire Captain’s Religious Rights Ablaze

Union officials and state play God with firefighter’s rights

San Francisco, CA (May 21, 2012) – A California Department of Forestry fire captain has filed a religious discrimination charge against the California Department of Forestry Firefighters (CDFF) union for violating his statutory right to refrain from paying forced union dues to support a union hierarchy involved in activities he considers immoral.

With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation attorneys, Susanville firefighter John Valentich filed the charge against the CDFF union with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission located in San Francisco.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act forbids discrimination against religious employees and requires companies and unions to attempt to reasonably accommodate employees' sincerely-held religious beliefs. The obligation to accommodate applies to the payment of compulsory union fees, as no employee should be forced to fund a union that engages in activities that offend their religious convictions.

Read the entire release here.

National Workplace Advocacy Group Launches Charter School Initiative

News Release

National Workplace Advocacy Group Launches Charter School Initiative

Union bosses fail to block charter school education, now seek to make charter schools part of forced unionism empire

Washington, DC (May 16, 2012) – The nation's premier advocate on behalf of workers impacted by forced unionism across the country has launched a new initiative to assist charter school teachers and other charter school employees exercise their rights so they can make informed decisions about unionization.

Led by National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, the National Right to Work Foundation's Charter School Initiative will help charter school teachers and support personnel in the face of expanding efforts by union officials to unionize America’s charter schools.

All charter school employees are entitled to certain constitutional and statutory rights. Unfortunately, these rights are not automatically provided. To enjoy many of the benefits of these protected rights, an employee may first have to assert his or her entitlement to them.

Read the entire release here.

Unionized Probation Officers Win Refunds in Federal Suit over Free Speech Rights

News Release

Unionized Probation Officers Win Refunds in Federal Suit over Free Speech Rights

New York public employees desperately need Right to Work protections

Rochester, NY (April 24, 2012) – Four Monroe County probation officers have won relief in their protracted federal legal battle against two government unions for violating their First Amendment rights.

The four officers, led by David Scheffer, filed the suit with free legal aid from National Right to Work Foundation attorneys.

The probation officers sued Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) union and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union for deliberately violating their First Amendment rights by seizing forced union dues from their paychecks for illegal union expenditures. The officers charged that union officials were spending their forced dues on union organizing drives, despite the officers' objections.

Read the entire release here.

News Release: SEIU Hit with Federal Charge for Sweeping Hospital Housekeeper’s Rights Under the Rug

News Release

SEIU Hit with Federal Charge for Sweeping Hospital Housekeeper's Rights Under the Rug

Union officials ignore member's repeated requests to resign

Kissimmee, FL (March 8, 2012) – An Osceola Regional Medical Center housekeeper has filed federal charges against a major healthcare union for repeatedly violating federal law by refusing to allow her to exercise her right to refrain from dues-paying union membership under Florida's popular Right to Work law.

With free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation, Imaculada Camara of St. Cloud filed the charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

On December 8, 2011, Camara sent a letter notifying Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Healthcare Workers East officials that she was exercising her right to resign from union membership. Instead of acknowledging her request, SEIU officials rejected her letter because it was not sent via registered mail. On December 28, Camara sent a second letter, which SEIU officials again rejected, this time for not being timely.

In both instances, the SEIU officials' refusal to allow Camara to exercise her right to refrain from union membership clearly violates federal law because any worker has the right to resign from full-dues-paying union membership at any time and is not required to notify the union she is resigning via certified mail.

Read the entire release here.

News Release: Public Employee Union Faces Federal Lawsuit for Illegal Forced Dues Scheme

News Release

Public Employee Union Faces Federal Lawsuit for Illegal Forced Dues Scheme

Right to Work Foundation attorneys challenge union hierarchy for violating employee's constitutional rights

San Francisco, CA (March 6, 2012) – An Alameda County East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) employee has filed a federal lawsuit against a local union and the public agency for violating his rights.

James C. Hankins filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco with free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation.

Hankins resigned formal union membership from the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 444 more than ten years ago.

However, in April 2011, AFSCME Local 444 and EBMUD officials began to deduct full union dues from Hawkins’s paycheck as if he was a full union member.

Read the entire press release here.


Terms of Web Site Use      Related Links: National Right to Work Committee | National Institute for Labor Relations Research

Copyright © 2010 National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation
 National Right to Work Legal Defense and Education Foundation, Inc.
8001 Braddock Road / Springfield, Virginia 22160
(703) 321-8510 | (800) 336-3600 / (703) 321-9613 fax - general (703) 321-9319 fax - legal department