Fresno, Calif. (January 9, 2001) — Four Bakersfield teachers today filed a federal lawsuit to strike down the California Teachers Association (CTA) union’s statewide policy of seizing forced union dues from teachers’ paychecks that are funneled into questionable and undisclosed union activities, including politics.
The teachers charge that the CTA union’s policy illegally directs local affiliates statewide to seize union dues without first providing an independently audited financial disclosure.
The teachers filed the lawsuit, Lakin v. CTA, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California against the CTA union, its Kern High Faculty Association union affiliate, and Kern High School District (for enforcing the illegal collection of dues).
“CTA union officials devised this statewide scheme to force California’s teachers to fund their massive political operation,” said Randy Wanke, Director of Legal Information for the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, which is providing free legal aid to the teachers.
Under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, as articulated in the Foundation-won Supreme Court decision in Chicago Teachers Union v. Hudson, union officials must first provide independently audited disclosure of their books and prove that forced union dues are not spent on non-bargaining activities like politics.
Using CTA union procedures, hundreds of CTA-affiliated local unions are intentionally circumventing the constitutional requirements for disclosure by claiming that the percentage of the local union activities tied to collective bargaining could be arbitrarily “presumed” to be equivalent to the percentage reported on the CTA union’s financial disclosure.
Under two previous Foundation-won federal court rulings, Sheffield v. CTA and Foster v. CTA, there is absolutely no debate that this “local presumption” scheme is unconstitutional. However, the state’s largest union continues to use it. In this lawsuit, Foundation attorneys seek to have the CTA union’s statewide “local presumption” procedures declared unconstitutional; enjoin the CTA union from directing local affiliates to use those procedures; and enjoin the Kern High Faculty Association union from seizing union dues using those procedures.
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, assists thousands of employees in more than 250 cases nationwide per year.