Illegal Forced Dues and Money for Politics 

News Release

State Troopers File Federal Lawsuit against Connecticut State Police Union

Union bosses violate Connecticut state police troopers' rights by failing to comply with U.S. Supreme Court protections for nonmember employees

Hartford, CT (March 30, 2015) – With free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation, four Connecticut state troopers have filed a federal lawsuit against the Connecticut State Police Union (CSPU) and the state for violating their rights and refusing to follow federal disclosure requirements.

State trooper Marc Lamberty resigned from formal union membership in the CSPU and invoked his right to refrain from paying full union dues in June 2011. Troopers Joseph Mercer, Carson Konow, and Collin Konow did so in November 2014.

The U.S. Supreme Court has long held that workers have the unconditional right to refrain from union membership at any time. Even though the state troopers are not CSPU members, they must still accept union officials' monopoly bargaining "representation," and because Connecticut does not have a Right to Work law, union officials can compel the troopers into paying union fees as a condition of employment.

The Supreme Court ruled in the Foundation's Chicago Teachers Union v. Hudson case that union officials must provide nonmember public employees with an independently-audited breakdown of all forced-dues union expenditures and the opportunity to object and challenge the amount of forced union fees before an impartial decision maker. These minimal safeguards are designed to ensure that workers have an opportunity to refrain from paying for union political activities and member-only events.

Despite these limited protections, the state continues to deduct, and union officials continue to receive, full union dues from the officers' paychecks as if they are union members. Further, despite the officers' requests that union officials acknowledge their rights and provide them with the financial breakdown of union expenditures, union officials refuse to comply with Hudson's requirements.

The troopers seek refunds of the amount of forced union dues payments illegally taken from their paychecks and to enjoin future collection of any dues or fees until union officials follow the law.

"Once again, union officials are keeping rank-and-file state troopers in the dark to keep their forced-dues gravy train going," said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. "To prevent these types of forced unionism abuses in the future, Connecticut needs to pass a Right to Work law making union affiliation and dues payments completely voluntary for all of its workers."

Twenty-five states have Right to Work protections for employees. Public polling shows that nearly 80 percent of Americans and union members support the principle of voluntary unionism.

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.
News Release

Family Child Care Providers' Class-Action Lawsuit Spurs SEIU Officials to Back Down from Forced Dues Demands

Home-based child care providers challenge forced unionization law; seek refund of illegally-seized union dues

Olympia, WA (March 27, 2015) – The day after a group of family child care providers filed a federal class-action lawsuit challenging a 2006 law that authorizes the forcible unionization of Washington State's 12,000 home-based child care providers, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 925 officials sent a letter to providers in the state dropping their forced dues demands.

The development comes immediately in the wake of a federal lawsuit filed by Cindy Mentele and three other providers from around the state with free legal aid from National Right to Work Foundation attorneys in conjunction with the Freedom Foundation. The lawsuit, which names Governor Jay Inslee in addition to SEIU Local 925, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.

The child care providers' lawsuit challenges the forced-unionism scheme on the grounds that it violates the U.S. Constitution's guarantees of free political expression and association. National Right to Work Foundation attorneys argue that such schemes violate providers' First Amendment right to choose with whom they associate to petition the government because the government does not have the constitutional authority to force citizens to accept its handpicked political representative to lobby itself.

The child care providers also seek repayment of union fees illegally taken from them by the Governor, and given to SEIU Local 925, over the past three years.

Home-based child care and personal care providers, with Right to Work Foundation attorneys' assistance, have challenged similar forced-unionization-by-government-fiat schemes in several states across the country, including Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, and New York. On June 30, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling in Harris v. Quinn, argued by Right to Work Foundation attorneys, striking down the Illinois scheme, ruling that individuals who receive state subsidies based on their clientele cannot be forced to pay compulsory union fees. The Court did not rule on whether providers can be forced to accept the union's so-called representation under a monopoly bargaining scheme.

"Citizens have the power to select their political representation in government, not the other way around," said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. "Although a positive first step, this letter doesn't begin to address the gross violations this forced unionism scheme inflicts on Washington State’s child care providers' First Amendment rights of free expression and association."

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.
News Release

Act 10 Lawsuit Judgment Strikes Down Forced Dues Contracts between Kenosha School District and Unions

Bargaining agreements between unions and the school district violated Wisconsin's public-sector labor reform statute

Kenosha, WI (March 27, 2015) – In a lawsuit filed by current and former Kenosha public school teachers, a state court has struck down monopoly bargaining agreements between the Kenosha Unified School District and School Board and three local unions as illegal under Wisconsin's 2011 public-sector unionism reforms commonly referred to as Act 10.

Current Kenosha school teacher Carrie Ann Glembocki and former Kenosha school teacher Kristi LaCroix filed the lawsuit in November 2013, with free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation and the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty. The lawsuit challenged bargaining agreements between the District and officials from the Kenosha Education Association union, the SEIU Local 168 union, and the AFSCME Local 2383 union. Those agreements required teachers and other District staff to pay union dues or fees to keep their jobs.

Under Wisconsin's 2011 Act 10 labor reforms, most public-sector employees cannot be forced to join or pay dues to a union as a condition of employment or accept unwanted union representation for matters other than base wages. In November 2013, however, the Kenosha School Board approved bargaining agreements with unions covering numerous subjects Act 10 prohibits, including a provision that allowed union officials to collect dues from all District employees, including nonmembers.

The lawsuit prompted the District and the local school board to enter into a settlement with the teachers in June 2014 declaring their collective bargaining agreements with the unions null and void. The settlement also required the District and school board to refrain from forcing teachers and other staff to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment.

The lawsuit continued against the three unions because they were not parties to the settlement.

"This ruling holds that Kenosha public school employees cannot be forced to pay union dues or fees to get or keep a job in violation of Act 10," said Patrick Semmens, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. "This judgment affirms once again that union officials are not above the law."

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.
News Release

State Employees Move to Defend Rauner's Federal Challenge to Government Union Bosses' Forced Dues Powers

Legal action argues forced union dues and fees for government employees violates the First Amendment protections of free speech and freedom of association

Washington, DC (March 23, 2015) – Three Illinois state employees have moved to intervene in support of Governor Bruce Rauner's federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of union officials' power to force nonmember state employees to pay union fees as a condition of employment.

The three state employees, Mark Janus, Marie Quigley, and Brian Trygg, filed the motion to intervene in the lawsuit today with legal assistance from staff attorneys with the National Right to Work Foundation and the Illinois Policy Institute's Liberty Justice Center.

Governor Rauner issued an executive order in February that instructs all state agencies to put in escrow, pending the outcome of the federal lawsuit filed the same day, all forced union-fee deductions from nonmember state employees' wages required by Illinois' public-sector labor relations statute.

The Governor's lawsuit asks that a judgment be entered declaring unconstitutional the provisions of state collective bargaining agreements that require nonmember state employees to pay union fees, a judgment that would effectively grant those workers Right to Work protections.

In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court suggested in its Foundation-won Knox v. SEIU ruling that it was ready to reassess whether union bosses' forced dues powers, which it called "something of an anomaly" in American jurisprudence, violate civil servants' First Amendment rights. Then last year, in the Foundation-won Harris v. Quinn case that originated in Illinois, the Court struck down compulsory union fees for homecare providers who indirectly receive state subsidies based on their clientele. In Harris, a majority of the Court characterized public-sector union officials' forced dues powers as "questionable on several grounds."

Governor Rauner's lawsuit seeks to apply the Court's reasoning in these cases to free Illinois state employees from compulsory union fees.

"Governor Rauner's actions may give Illinois public employees the Right to Work protections they so desperately need and deserve," said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. "We applaud these civil servants for stepping up in support of their First Amendment right to not subsidize union officials' agenda in order to work for their own government."

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.
News Release

NJ Public Safety Deputy Attorney General Files Federal Suit against IBEW Union

IBEW union officials fail to follow federal disclosure guidelines while requiring deputy AG to pay mandatory union fees

Trenton, NJ (March 20, 2015) – A New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety Deputy Attorney General has filed a federal lawsuit against a local International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) affiliate for violating his rights and refusing to follow federal disclosure requirements.

James Bennett filed the suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey with free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys.

Even though Bennett is not a member of the IBEW Local 33 union, he must still accept union officials' monopoly bargaining "representation." Further, IBEW Local 33 union officials force him and other nonmembers at his workplace to pay the equivalent of 85 percent of full union dues, the maximum amount allowed under state law, as a condition of employment.

The U.S. Supreme Court has long held that workers have the unconditional right to refrain from union membership at any time. However, because New Jersey does not have a Right to Work law, union officials can compel nonmember workers into paying union dues and fees as a condition of employment.

The Supreme Court ruled in the Foundation's Chicago Teachers Union v. Hudson case that union officials must provide nonmember public workers with an independently-audited breakdown of all forced-dues union expenditures and the opportunity to object and challenge the amount of forced union fees before an impartial decision maker. This minimal safeguard is designed to ensure that workers have an opportunity to refrain from paying for union political activities and member-only events.

Bennett's suit alleges that although Local 33 union officials purportedly charge him the maximum amount of forced union fees allowed under state law, they have failed to follow the federal disclosure requirements outlined by the U.S. Supreme Court in Hudson.

Bennett is asking the court to stop the illegal union deductions from his paychecks and order a refund of all illegally-seized union dues and fees, plus interest.

"To keep their forced-dues gravy train going, IBEW union officials are keeping public servants in the dark about their rights," said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. "This case underscores why New Jersey needs to follow the example most recently set by Wisconsin and pass a Right to Work law making union affiliation and dues payments completely voluntary."

Twenty-five states have Right to Work protections for employees. Public polling shows that nearly 80 percent of Americans and union members support the principle of voluntary unionism.

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.
News Release

Worker Advocate Offers Legal Aid to Wisconsin Workers Seeking to Exercise Rights under New Right to Work Law

Foundation has long history of assisting workers seeking to refrain from union membership and dues payments

Washington, DC (March 10, 2015) – The National Right to Work Foundation is offering free legal aid to Wisconsin private-sector workers seeking to exercise their right under Wisconsin's newly-enacted Right to Work law to refrain from union membership and union dues payments.

On Monday, Governor Scott Walker signed the nation's newest Right to Work law, effective Wednesday, March 11, 2015. Under the law, workers will no longer be required to pay union dues as a condition of employment once the current union monopoly bargaining agreement in their workplace expires.

The National Right to Work Foundation has a long history of assisting employees seeking to exercise their Right to Work rights, most recently under Right to Work provisions enacted in Indiana and Michigan. Foundation attorneys also provided free legal representation to Wisconsin public-sector employees who sought to refrain from paying union dues or fees under Walker's 2011 public-sector union reforms, commonly referred to as "Act 10."

Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation, issued the following statement:

"No worker should ever be forced to join or pay dues to a union as a condition of their employment. That is why Wisconsin's new Right to Work law is a great advance for worker freedom. Today, workers in Wisconsin finally have Right to Work protections.

"Unfortunately, union officials won't give up their forced dues power easily. In addition to fighting Governor Walker in court, it won't be surprising to see them make it difficult for workers to exercise their rights. Workers who try to exercise those rights may encounter stonewalling, intimidation, or harassment at the hands of union officials.

"In response, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, a charitable organization that provides free legal assistance to employees nationwide, has created a special task force to defend workers seeking to exercise their Right to Work.

"Affected employees are encouraged to call the Foundation's legal hotline toll-free at 1-800-336-3600 or contact the Foundation through its award-winning website at www.nrtw.org."

The National Right to Work Foundation issued a special legal notice to Wisconsin workers, which can be viewed here: www.nrtw.org/WisconsinRTW.

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.
News Release

Washington Family Child Care Providers File Federal Class-Action Lawsuit Challenging Forced Unionization

Home-based child care providers forced into SEIU ranks against their will

Olympia, WA (March 5, 2015) – Today, a group of family child care providers filed a federal class-action lawsuit challenging a 2006 law that authorizes the forcible unionization of Washington State's 12,000 home-based child care providers.

With free legal aid from National Right to Work Foundation attorneys in conjunction with the Freedom Foundation, Cindy Mentele and three other providers from around the state filed the suit against Governor Jay Inslee and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 925. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.

The child care providers' lawsuit challenges the forced-unionism scheme on the grounds that it violates the U.S. Constitution's guarantees of free political expression and association. National Right to Work Foundation attorneys argue that such schemes violate providers' First Amendment right to choose with whom they associate to petition the government because the government does not have the constitutional authority to force citizens to accept its handpicked political representative to lobby itself.

The child care providers seek repayment of union fees illegally taken from them by the Governor, and given to SEIU Local 925, over the past three years.

Home-based child care and personal care providers, with Right to Work Foundation attorneys' assistance, have challenged similar forced-unionization-by-government-fiat schemes in several states across the country, including Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, and New York. On June 30, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling in Harris v. Quinn striking down the Illinois scheme, ruling that individuals who receive state subsidies based on their clientele cannot be forced to pay compulsory union fees. The Court did not rule on whether providers can be forced to accept the union's so-called representation under a monopoly bargaining scheme. The next day, the Court cleared the path for 50,000 home child care providers in Michigan to receive a refund of union dues illegally taken during Michigan's now-defunct unionization scheme.

"Citizens have the power to select their political representation in government, not the other way around," said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. "This scheme, which forces small business owners, and even grandma taking care of her grandchildren, into SEIU union political association is a slap in the face of fundamental American principles we hold dear."

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.
News Release

Worker Advocate Urges Supreme Court to Take Case to Overturn Government Union Bosses Forced Dues Powers

Case builds on Foundation-won Supreme Court precedents

Washington, DC (March 2, 2015) – National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys have filed a "friend of the Court" brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, urging it to hear a challenge to public-sector union officials' power to force America's civil servants into dues-paying ranks. Foundation attorneys filed the brief late Friday in support of the challenge, titled Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, brought by ten California teachers supported by the Center for Individual Rights.

Nearly 40 years ago, the Court ruled in the Foundation's Abood v. Detroit Board of Education case that public-sector workers can be compelled to pay union fees as a condition of employment, but have a constitutional right to refrain from the part used for union political and members-only activities. Since then, National Right to Work Foundation-assisted workers have repeatedly challenged government union officials' power to force public employees into union fee payments as a job condition.

In 2012, the Court suggested in the Right to Work Foundation-won Knox v. SEIU ruling that it was ready to reassess whether union officials' forced dues powers, which it called "something of an anomaly," violate workers' First Amendment rights. Responding to that suggestion, many workers have filed lawsuits seeking to eliminate forced unionism in America. Several of those cases are Foundation-supported.

In Knox's wake, the Court ruled last year in another Foundation-won case that individuals who indirectly receive state subsidies based on their clientele cannot be forced to pay union fees. This victory in Harris v. Quinn, a class-action suit filed by several Foundation-assisted Illinois homecare providers, renders unconstitutional similar homecare unionization schemes in at least 13 other states, freeing roughly 500,000 providers from forced union dues nationwide. Moreover, in Harris, the Court criticized Abood's allowance of any forced fees for public employees as "questionable on several grounds."

Foundation staff attorneys also are assisting nine airline fleet employees who are suing the Transport Workers Union of America to establish railroad and airline workers' right to refrain from paying any union dues or fees. In December 2014, a federal district court judge granted the case class-action status. Underscoring the case's significance, the Department of Justice then intervened in the case to defend the constitutionality of forced union fees.

In their Friedrichs brief, Foundation attorneys explain why the Court should take the case and strike down union officials' forced dues powers, describing the lessons learned from many cases involving workers who have struggled to stop paying for union politics against their will.

"Union bosses have abused their extraordinary government-granted power to compel workers to fund their political activities unless workers object – a power granted no other private organization in our country – for far too long," said Mark Mix, president of National Right to Work. "The First Amendment right of workers who refrain from union membership to automatically not pay union dues at all, especially for politics, is long overdue."

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.
News Release

Teenage Grocery Clerk Wins Federal Case Against Grocery Union Officials Who Violated His Rights

Union officials illegally threatened to have him fired for not joining and paying full dues

San Diego, CA (February 24, 2015) – With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, a teenage part-time Ralphs Grocery clerk has won a federal ruling against a local grocery union for violating his workplace rights.

The teenager filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 135 union after union officials provided him in July 2013, with a membership packet that illegally stated that new hires must join the union and pay full union dues as a condition of their employment.

The teenager eventually learned about his right to refrain from full dues paying union membership and made multiple inquiries about resigning his union membership and paying reduced dues with UFCW Local 135 officials. His multiple requests were denied, stonewalled, or ignored.

In August 2013, union officials again demanded the teenager join the union and pay full dues and initiation fees or get fired. Union officials also sent a letter demanding that he appear at the union hall if he wished to refrain from union membership. They also demanded his social security number in order to exercise his right not to join the union.

Because California does not have Right to Work protections making union affiliation completely voluntary, nonmember workers can be forced to pay part of union dues to keep their jobs. However, workers who refrain from union membership can refrain from paying dues used for union politics and members-only events.

A NLRB administrative law judge ruled that UFCW Local 135 union brass violated the teenager's rights by failing to follow federal disclosure requirements that allow workers to know what amounts they can be forced to pay as a condition of their employment, and explain the union's financial calculations.
The judge also ordered the union hierarchy to rescind its policy requiring new hires to appear in person at the union’s office in order to exercise their rights.

"It took 17 months for this worker to get a ruling holding UFCW union officials accountable for blatantly violating federal law to keep their forced dues gravy train going," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "This case underscores the need for California to pass a Right to Work law making union affiliation and dues payments completely voluntary."

Twenty-four states have Right to Work protections for employees. Public polling shows that nearly 80 percent of Americans and union members support the principle of voluntary unionism.

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.
News Release

Federal Settlement Awards Johnson Controls Worker Six Months of Illegally-Seized Union Confiscations

Case underscores needs for Right to Work protections

Sycamore, IL (February 6, 2015) – A local Johnson Controls, Inc. worker has won a federal settlement from the United Auto Workers (UAW) union hierarchy and the company for violating his right to refrain from paying union dues and fees used for union officials' politics.

The settlement comes in the wake of federal charges Johnson Controls employee Thomas Hayden filed with legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys.

Hayden, who has exercised his right under federal labor law to refrain from formal union membership, must accept the exclusive representation of UAW, and its Local 1268, union officials. Because Illinois does not have Right to Work protections for workers, nonmember workers like Hayden can be forced to pay a part of union dues and fees.

However, under the Foundation's U.S. Supreme Court victory in Communications Workers v. Beck, employees can refrain from paying for politics and many other union activities.

Even though Hayden received letters from UAW Local 1268 union officials in 2013 and 2014 stating that they would recognize his right to refrain from paying for dues used for union politicking and other nonbargaining activities, Johnson Controls continued to deduct, and Local 1268 union officials continued to accept, full union dues from his paychecks for about a year.

Hayden then filed federal unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regional office in Peoria challenging the illicit dues deductions.

Per the settlement's terms, Johnson Controls and Local 1268 union officials will refund Hayden $133 for six months of illegally-seized union dues, plus interest. The union hierarchy must also post a notice in the workplace informing other workers of their right to refrain from dues-paying union membership.

"It took federal charges to force this company and UAW union officials to finally cease their illegal forced-dues confiscations," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "This case demonstrates that Illinois desperately needs a Right to Work law, which would make union affiliation and dues payments completely voluntary."

Twenty-four states have Right to Work protections for private-sector workers. Public polling shows that nearly 80 percent of Americans and union members support the Right to Work principle of voluntary unionism.

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.

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