Oceanside, Calif. (April 9, 2003) — With free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, three City of Oceanside police officers filed charges with the California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) against the local policemens’ union hierarchy for overtly discriminating against them as non-union members.
Led by Detective Bobbie Joe Garza, the officers filed the unfair labor practice charges after the Oceanside Police Officers Association (OPOA) union illegally attempted to collect forced dues from their paychecks without providing an independent audit of how the forced fees were spent.
The OPOA union officials’ actions violate California statutes and regulations that are intended to protect an employee’s right to refrain from formal membership, and not pay for activities unrelated to collective bargaining- such as union political activity. The charges seek to cease attempts to collect forced dues from all non-union members by the OPOA union until it provides an independently audited calculation of its costs.
“This is a shakedown scam pulled by government union bosses to keep money pouring into their political coffers,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “This violation of these officers’ constitutional rights is symptomatic of the union’s emphasis on playing politics rather than representing employees.”
Last month, OPOA union officials began illegally deducting the forced fees, totaling nearly $600 annually per officer, from the paychecks of non-union police officers. Though the union hierarchy provided a so-called “compilation” of its expenditures, the document specifically stated that the listing was not an audit, despite requirements of PERB Regulation 32992.
Under Governor Gray Davis, California’s public sector unions have become notorious for their misuse of public employees’ forced dues for politics. Just last year, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California ordered the Professional Engineers in California Government union to return nearly $300,000 to California state employees who were illegally forced to pay for lobbying and other union political activities.