Foundation Legal Director Ray LaJeunesse’s commentary on Janus v. AFSCME featured on The Federalist Society Website
With free legal aid from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys, an Illinois state employee’s legal challenge to forced union dues and fees for public sector workers has garnered significant media attention nationwide since the petition to the Supreme Court of the United States was filed on June 6. Recently, Foundation Legal Director Ray LaJeunesse wrote a blog post on The Federalist Society’s website about the case, Janus v. AFSCME. An excerpt is below.
Twice in the past five years the United States Supreme Court has questioned its holding in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, 431 U.S. 209 (1977) (6-3 decision on this issue), that the First Amendment allows a government to force its employees to pay “agency fees” to a labor organization that is their “exclusive representative” for purposes of “collective bargaining” with the government.
To read the whole post please click here.
Foundation President Mark Mix’s exclusive op-ed on Ending the Obama Labor Board Majority was published in the Friday print and e-print edition of The Washington Times
Below is an exert from the piece. Please click here to read the full op-ed.
“Elections have consequences, or at least they are supposed to. Unfortunately for the rights of independent workers who don’t want to associate with a labor union, more than 100 days have passed since Barack Obama left office, but the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) remains in the hands of an Obama majority intent on pushing the limits of Big Labor’s forced unionism powers. It doesn’t need to be that way.
The five-seat NLRB, with two vacancies, remains controlled by a two-to-one Obama majority. Until two new members are nominated by President Trump and confirmed by the Senate, the Big Labor majority will continue to issue rulings to expand union boss powers.”
Newsmax published Foundation President Mark Mix’s op-ed on the Obama National Labor Relations Board’s assault on independent-minded workers over the past eight years and its effects today. Below is an exert from the piece.
Maureen Madden is a bookkeeper at Lakeside Foods, a unionized independent grocery store located in greater Chicago. Early this March, Madden filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), cosigned by every other unionized employee at the store, asking that United Food and Commercials Workers (UFCW) Local 1456 be “decertified.”
In plain English, that means that not a single one of the employees wanted UFCW officials to continue wielding monopoly power to negotiate their terms and conditions of employment.
To read the rest of the op-ed please click here.
There are multiple media reports that Communications Workers of America (CWA) union officials are ordering all union-represented workers to walk off the job starting at 3:00 PM EST May 19. As a result of numerous legal inquires the National Right to Work Foundation has released a special legal notice to AT&T employees affected by the announcement of a strike by Communications Workers of America (CWA) union officials.
Affected AT&T employees need to know they have rights that CWA union officials will not tell them. To learn about these rights please read the special legal notice.
Employees who have additional questions can contact the Foundation for free legal aid.
Yesterday the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation filed an amicus curiae brief in the case David Smith & Donald Lambrecht v. Wolf currently before the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court. The brief is filed in support of homecare providers challenging an executive order signed by Gov. Wolf forcing providers across the state into union monopoly bargaining ranks.
The brief argues that Gov. Wolf exceeded his executive powers by creating, by fiat, a new forced unionism mandatory bargaining system for homecare providers in Pennsylvania. The brief explains that Gov. Wolf’s executive order is illegal and beyond the Governor’s authority because, among other reasons, the Pennsylvania Public Employee Relations Act (PERA) establishes the parameters of permissible bargaining with regards to the Commonwealth.
The executive order in question, 2015-05, is nearly identical to a 2010 executive order by former Gov. Rendell that was rescinded after a court challenge. Both executive orders sought unilaterally to force an entire class of private employee which is paid in part through Medicaid type programs into a forced unionism situation by mandating a monopoly bargaining “representative.”
To view a copy of the brief please click here.
On March 10th, a group of independent drivers gathered national media attention when they filed a lawsuit against the City of Seattle, seeking to block the City Council bill instituting forced unionism on independent driver contractors. The drivers’ lawsuit argues that the Council bill is an infringement on their First Amendment rights as well as being preempted by the federal National Labor Relations Act.
These drivers are being represented by staff attorneys from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and the Freedom Foundation. Below is a selection of media coverage about the Foundation’s efforts to protect the individual liberty of all the ride-sharing workers. To read the full article please click on the hyperlinked title of each publication. To read the Foundation’s press release about the lawsuit please click here.
Wall Street Journal Opinion Journal
Law 360 – Eleven independent drivers sued the city of Seattle in federal court Friday claiming its new ordinance allowing for-hire drivers for Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing apps to unionize is unconstitutional and unfairly forces all drivers to comply with terms set by designated unions just to use the app.
Seattle Times – In a federal lawsuit, the drivers are seeking a temporary restraining order barring the city from enforcing the law — the first of its kind in the country — saying it goes against federal labor and privacy laws, as well as violates their rights to free speech and association.
Wall Street Journal –Seattle also is a crucial test case for millions of so-called gig economy workers who make deliveries, run errands and perform other freelance tasks as contractors. Uber and startups like delivery company Postmates Inc. and errands service TaskRabbit Inc. have withstood pressure to treat their contract workers as employees, thereby avoiding payment of full benefits or compensation for expenses like gasoline.
Reuters – The 11 drivers, represented by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, said in a lawsuit filed in federal court in Seattle on Friday that the city’s law violates their rights under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by forcing them to join a union in order to work, and is preempted by the National Labor Relations Act.
KIRO TV – “It’s freedom, it’s the way of life these days if you want to be entrepreneur and own your own business. Be your own boss, manage your own life,” said driver Tianna Williamson.
Forbes – The Seattle ordinance also raises fundamental questions about the nature of work and employment, and the fairness of labor laws forged in the industrial era when they are applied to gig-economy workers.
Union bosses sought to impose coercive in-person ID requirement on workers seeking to exercise the right to stop paying union fees
Springfield, VA (February 15, 2017) – With legal representation provided by attorneys from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, a Michigan worker has won a battle against illegal barriers created by union officials seeking to restrict workers from resigning their union membership and exercising their rights under Michigan’s Right to Work law.
In October 2014, after Michigan’s new Right to Work law went into effect, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 58 union officials imposed a new policy governing the procedures for resigning formal union membership and revoking dues checkoff. These procedures demanded that resignations take place in person at the Local 58 union hall in Detroit, Michigan, where the worker would have to present photo identification and a corresponding written resignation and/or dues checkoff revocation.
After the policy was implemented, Ryan Greene, a worker who lives several hours away from the IBEW Local 58 union hall, decided to exercise his right to resign his formal union membership and revoke his dues checkoff authorization. Upon encountering the restrictive policy created by Local 58 union officials, Greene filed a federal Unfair Labor Practice charge with the NLRB alleging that the new policy was unlawful and violated the rights of workers as guaranteed in the National Labor Relations Act.
The ULP charge argued that forcing workers to appear in person with a photo ID violated workers’ rights by illegally hindering their right to resign at any time from the union and to revoke dues checkoff authorizations.
The regional General Counsel for the NLRB investigated and issued a complaint. The administrative law judge who heard the case dismissed the complaint, but the Foundation staff attorneys appealed to the full NLRB for Greene.
After the briefing concluded, the NLRB issued a 2-1 decision determining that the policy set by Local 58 officials infringed on workers rights. The Board’s opinion rules that the policy was an illegal restriction placed by the union on the members’ rights to resign and revoke, because it imposes a significant burden on exercising those rights.
“This case is just another example of union officials’ campaign to prevent the workers they claim to ‘represent’ from exercising their rights under the state’s popular new Right to Work law,” said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Instead of cooking up schemes to trap workers into paying union dues, union officials should ask themselves why they are so afraid of giving workers a choice when it comes to union membership and dues payment.”
Since Michigan enacted its Right to Work law in 2012, National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys have successfully worked to defend the law against union challenges and assist workers in exercising their right under the law to resign from union membership and stop all payment of union dues and fees. Since the law was enacted, Foundation attorneys have filed some 28 legal actions for Michigan workers seeking to exercise their rights as protected by Right to Work.
National Right to Work Foundation Launches Missouri Task Force to Defend and Enforce New Right to Work Law
Foundation staff attorneys will provide free legal aid to Missouri workers seeking to exercise new Right to Work protections
Springfield, VA (February 13, 2017) – The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation announced today the creation of a special task force to defend and enforce Missouri’s newly-passed Right to Work law. Foundation staff attorneys will offer free legal advice and aid to Missouri workers seeking to exercise their right to refrain from union membership and union dues payment, as guaranteed by the Right to Work law.
One week ago, on Monday, February 6, Missouri Governor Eric Greitens signed into law Right to Work legislation, thereby making Missouri the nation’s newest and 28th Right to Work state.
Foundation staff attorneys are prepared to defend the Missouri Right to Work law from any spurious legal challenges brought by union officials. Big Labor, unwilling to give up their forced-dues powers, routinely challenges Right to Work laws in courts despite the fact that Right to Work laws have repeatedly been upheld.
Unfortunately, union officials also often try to stymie independent-minded workers who seek to exercise their rights under Right to Work laws. Any Missouri worker who has questions about his or her rights, or encounters any resistance or abuse while trying to exercise his or her workplace rights, is encouraged to contact Foundation staff attorneys for free legal aid.
“Passing a Right to Work law is just the first step; as these protections for Missouri workers must be defended and enforced,” said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Union bosses will go to great lengths to keep workers in their forced-dues grasp. The National Right to Work Foundation will fight to make sure that every Missourian’s Right to Work is protected because no worker should ever be forced to pay union dues or fees just to get or keep a job.”
Affected employees are encouraged to call the Foundation’s legal hotline toll-free at 1-800-336-3600 or contact the Foundation online at www.nrtw.org to request free legal assistance or to learn more about their new rights.
Task Force Staff Attorneys Filed Lawsuit Challenging Biased Ballot Petition Language Approved in Political Payback by Big Labor-backed former Secretary of State
Previously, with free legal representation from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys three Missouri workers filed legal challenges in late January against ten separate initiative-petitions that designed to block the Right to Work law that was at the time being considered for final passage by the Missouri Legislature. If approved by the voters in the 2018 general election, the ballot measures would prevent the Missouri General Assembly from prohibiting forced-unionism agreements, essentially overturning the Missouri Right to Work law.
All three of the plaintiffs – a nurse and two Kansas City Police Officers – will be directly affected by the passage of any of the union boss-backed ballot measures because they would lose their Right to Work without being compelled to subsidize a labor union.
With passage of Right to Work looming and Governor Eric Greitens pledging to sign the bill into law, union bosses scrambled to put numerous initiative-petitions to kill the law on Big Labor-friendly Jason Kander’s desk for his approval before he left office. Secretary Kander unsuccessfully challenged Senator Roy Blunt in the 2016 election, with his campaign largely funded by the union boss political machine that submitted these petitions.
Secretary Kander approved all ten just hours before vacating his office on January 9, with the intent of having them appear on the 2018 general election ballot if the measures’ Big Labor-backers obtain the required number of signatures.
Although required to draft summary statements to inform petition signers and voters of the effect of the proposed amendments, former Secretary of State Kander’s midnight actions seem designed to hide from Missouri voters what the ballot measures would put in Missouri’s constitution. None of the proposals even mention the Right to Work law that they are clearly designed to nullify.
National Right to Work Foundation Actively Defending Recently-Enacted Right to Work Laws
The National Right to Work Legal Defense 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 Kentucky, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Indiana
The Foundation created a special legal task force to protect and enforce the newly passed Kentucky Right to Work law. The task force also released a special legal notice to Kentucky workers detailing their rights under the new law and have been taking calls from dozens of workers seeking information.
Late last year with the help of National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys an employee at the Greenbrier Hotel in West Virginia, Reginald Gibbs, filed a motion to intervene in the ongoing lawsuit concerning the West Virginia Right to Work law that was passed in early 2016. Although the State of West Virginia was already defending the law in the case, the motion noted that Gibbs has a special interest in defending Right to Work and his attorneys can offer legal arguments distinct from those raised by state lawyers. Foundation staff attorneys have also filed several amicus briefs defending the Right to Work law.
In Wisconsin which passed a state Right to Work law in 2015, Foundation staff attorney’s submitted amicus briefs in both federal and state court in response to union boss lawsuits that allege that Right to Work laws constitute an “illegal taking” of union resources. A Federal Judge struck down the Federal lawsuit and the State lawsuit is pending.
In Michigan, which passed both private sector and public sector Right to Work in 2013, Foundation staff attorneys filed two amicus curiae briefs defending the Right to Work laws against two lawsuits. Both lawsuits were eventually unsuccessful. Additionally, Foundation attorneys have filed over 88 actions for Michigan workers seeking to exercise their Right to Work.
After the passage of a Right to Work law in Indiana in 2012, union bosses sought to wipe out the law with two lawsuits in State court and one in Federal court. Foundation staff attorneys submitted amicus curiae briefs in both State court cases and conferred with the State’s lawyers about what legal arguments to make for the State against the union boss challenge to Right to Work in federal court. The Right to Work law was ultimately upheld in all three union boss lawsuits.