Teamsters, Company Hit with Federal Charges for Illegally Having Minnesota Worker Fired for Refusing to Join Union
Case highlights need for Right to Work protections for Minnesota workers, to ensure union membership and dues payment are strictly voluntary
Minneapolis, Minn. (May 16, 2019) – An ex-employee of CRH Companies Midwest Region, a building materials supplier, has filed unfair labor practice charges against the Teamsters Local 120 union and his former employer with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) after being illegally fired. According to the charges, the worker was told – falsely – by both a Teamsters official and a company representative that he was required to join the union as a condition of employment.
James Connolly was first misinformed by union officials on April 2, when he inquired in an email to a Teamsters Local 120 Agent whether or not he would be compelled into joining the union as part of the job. The union’s reply came the same day, with an official wrongly telling Connolly, “Sorry James but yes you do have to join.” Later, on May 1, a representative of CRH Companies reiterated the same false information to Connolly. Connolly responded to the company in a May 9 email in which he expressed his desire not to join the Teamsters.
The next day, Connolly was fired in an email from his employer, specifically because he did not join the union. He then obtained free legal aid from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, whose staff attorneys helped him file the NLRB unfair labor practice charges.
Minnesota is not a Right to Work state and thus allows unions to force nonmembers to pay some union fees as a condition of employment. However, all workers have a right not to formally join a union, and termination based on union non-membership is a clear violation of federal law.
Connolly’s charge also requests that the NLRB go to federal court and seek a “Section 10(j)” injunction against both the company and the Teamsters remedying the illegal termination.
“James Connolly is fighting for his rights against union boss bullies who have violated longstanding federal law,” said National Right to Work President Mark Mix. “While this termination is blatantly illegal, it also underscores the need for Minnesota workers to have the protection of a Right to Work law, which would ensure that union membership and financial support are completely voluntary, and at the sole discretion of each individual employee.”
California Labor Board Moves to Prosecute Operating Engineers Union Officials for Intimidation Tactics Against Dissenting Workers
Union boss demanded personal emails of Sacramento-Yolo District workers seeking information about holding a vote to remove the union from their workplace
Sacramento, Calif. (May 15, 2019) – The California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) has found merit to unfair labor practice charges brought by three Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito & Vector Control District employees. Accordingly, PERB issued unfair labor practice complaints for all three employees against the Operating Engineers Local Union 3 (IOUE). According to the complaint, union officials illegally tried to obtain private correspondence of the employees concerning their right to remove the union from their workplace.
The employees, Brett Day, Ryan Wagner, and Mark Pipkin, were targeted by union officials after they discussed how to exercise their rights as workers under California’s Meyers-Milias-Brown Act (MMBA), which guarantees public workers “the right to refuse to join or participate in the activities of employee organizations” and “the right to represent themselves individually in their employment relations with the public agency.” Union agents requested from their employer all emails the three had sent containing the words or phrases “decertification,” “PERB,” “union,” “decertify,” “how to get rid of union,” “Public Employee Relations Board,” and “Meyers Milias Brown Act.”
The request came as IOUE officials sought to block a push for a decertification election, in which workers would vote in secret to determine whether a majority want to end the union’s monopoly representation. Under the National Right to Work Foundation-won U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME, the dissenting workers finally have the legal right to stop financial support of the union, but California law still forces the union on them as their monopoly bargaining agent.
Day, Wagner, and Pipkin defended themselves by obtaining free legal aid from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys and filing charges with PERB. The workers’ charges argue that the union’s demand for employee emails contravenes the workers’ rights under MMBA and calls for the union to end all its illegal activities, acknowledge the violation of employee rights, and post notices to remind workers of their freedom to refrain from union activities.
Now the PERB has found merit in the employees’ charges that the union, by requesting emails, “interfered with employee rights guaranteed by the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act in violation of section 3506 and thus committed an unfair labor practice.” Absent settlement, the PERB will move to prosecute the union for violating the workers’ legal rights.
“Operating Engineers union bosses are apparently so determined to stop workers from even holding a vote regarding union representation that they resorted to illegal intimidation tactics against the very workers they claim to ‘represent,’” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “As this case shows, even after the Janus decision recognized public workers’ legal right to stop subsidizing union activities, there remains much work to do to fully protect government employees from coercive union tactics.”
Labor Board Ruling: Michigan Teacher Union Officials Violated Employee’s Rights under Right to Work Law
In case brought by DeWitt school employee, MEA union ordered to stop illegal “window” policy blocking employees from ending dues payments
DeWitt, Michigan (May 10, 2019) – The Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC) has ruled in favor of a DeWitt public school employee and ordered the Michigan Education Association (MEA) teacher union and its local affiliate the DeWitt Educational Support Personnel Association (DESPA) to stop enforcing an illegal policy blocking workers from exercising their rights under Michigan’s Right to Work law.
The ruling is a victory for DeWitt Public Schools employee Kimberly Stepanski, who filed the case with free legal representation by National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys after MEA and DESPA rejected her attempts to cut off union dues, using a union-created “window period” policy.
According to the ruling, the union-created “window period” scheme – which is designed to limit workers from stopping dues payments except for a brief, union-selected time period – violates Michigan’s Right to Work law. The ruling also requires MEA union officials to refund to Stepanski any dues money collected since her initial resignation and requires the union to notify other employees that the “window” policy is illegal.
Stepanski first learned of the union scheme after attempting to resign and cut off dues payments in November 2013, only to be told that she was forced to pay dues because she missed the union’s designated “window period.” Stepanski, who says she had never been informed of the union’s policy, later sent a series of emails to the union officials reaffirming her intent to exercise her right not be a union member and to not fund any union activities, as protected by Michigan’s Right to Work law for public employees.
The law, which doesn’t stop workers from voluntarily joining or paying dues to a union, forbids compelling “any public employee to…become or remain a member of a labor organization…or otherwise affiliate with or financially support a labor organization.” Despite that, MEA union officials rebuffed Stepanski’s requests, demanding that she continue paying dues because she had not submitted her resignation request during the “opt-out window.”
Stepanski, with free legal aid from the National Right to Work Foundation, then filed a charge at MERC in 2014 challenging the coercive scheme. In the ruling issued last week, MERC determined that MEA and DESPA had illegally “reject[ed] [Stepanski’s] revocation of her financial obligation and restrict[ed] her right to resign her membership at will.” It ordered the unions to end the “window period” scheme, stop collecting dues or fees from any employee after he or she has resigned union membership, and refund to Stepanski any dues that they had illegally taken since her November 2013 resignation.
The order is another recognition of the ruling in Saginaw, a 2015 Foundation-won case where MERC first found “window period” schemes to violate Michigan’s Right to Work law. That case and others brought by Foundation staff attorneys have resulted in numerous refunds for money taken under the illegal “window period” scheme.
“Even after National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys have filed more than 100 cases against unions for forced unionism abuses since Michigan passed its Right to Work law, union bosses continue to systematically violate the rights of the very workers they claim to represent,” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “Hopefully, rather than continue to fight to trap the rank-and-file into forced dues payments, Michigan union officials will finally accept that Right to Work is the law, and refocus their efforts on actually convincing Wolverine State workers to voluntarily choose union activities.”
Ohio Union Bosses Back Down from Class Action Lawsuit Challenging Forced Union Dues Scheme Designed to Block Workers’ Janus Rights
CWA union officials quickly settle: rather than litigate, will stop enforcing unconstitutional policy and refund to workers blocked from stopping forced dues
Columbus, Ohio (May 7, 2019) – A federal First Amendment lawsuit brought by National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys for a civil servant against Communication Workers of America (CWA) Local 4502 and the City of Columbus has forced union officials to settle.
The settlement ends a union-created “escape period” policy that blocked City of Columbus worker Connie Pennington and hundreds of her coworkers from exercising their constitutional right to refrain from financially supporting the union. Union officials will refund all the money taken from the workers because their legal resignations were blocked under the union-created policy.
Connie Pennington, an employee of the City of Columbus, filed the lawsuit to challenge CWA Local 4502’s so-called “escape period” policy as a violation of her constitutional rights under the National Right to Work Foundation-won Janus v. AFSCME U.S. Supreme Court decision to refrain from financially supporting the union.
After the landmark Janus decision, Pennington resigned her membership and revoked her union dues deduction authorization. However, CWA union officials refused to honor her revocation, instead claiming that she could only stop union dues payments at the end of the monopoly bargaining agreement with her employer in May 2020, leaving her trapped paying forced dues for almost two years.
Faced with being forced to subsidize the union against her will, Pennington sought free legal aid from Foundation staff attorneys. Veteran Foundation staff attorney William Messenger, who argued and won the Janus case at the Supreme Court, sent a letter to CWA Local 4502 union officials for Pennington, reiterating her dues deduction revocation and explaining that a policy blocking her from exercising those rights violated the First Amendment. However, CWA officials continued to refuse to recognize her revocation and continued to deduct union fees from Pennington’s paycheck.
Pennington filed a class action lawsuit with help from Foundation staff attorneys challenging the so-called “escape period” policy as unconstitutional, because it limits when she can exercise her First Amendment rights under Janus and allows CWA Local 4502 officials to collect union dues without her affirmative consent.
In Janus, the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional to require public employees to subsidize a labor union. The Court further held that deducting any union dues or fees without a public employee’s affirmative consent violates the employee’s First Amendment rights.
Rather than face Foundation attorneys in court, union officials, concerned about losing even more privileges, settled the lawsuit. Under the terms, union officials and the city of Columbus will stop enforcing the “escape period” policy that trapped workers into paying forced union dues until the end of union officials’ monopoly bargaining contract.
Additionally, union officials will refund to Pennington all union dues deducted from her paycheck after she revoked her dues deduction authorization. Union officials will also identify any other workers whose rights were blocked by the illegal “escape period” policy, honor their requests to resign and revoke their dues deduction authorization, and refund the dues deducted under the policy. The City of Columbus will stop deducting union dues for CWA Local 4502 from any worker who has revoked a dues deduction authorization.
“Ms. Pennington stood up for her rights and successfully defeated this forced-fees, coercive scheme, freeing not just herself but also hundreds of her colleagues,” said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “This victory joins previous settlements that have resulted in union bosses dropping illegal restrictions that attempt to keep their forced-dues stream flowing by undermining the First Amendment rights of the workers they claim to ‘represent.’ The National Right to Work Foundation will continue to project public sector employees’ rights under Janus.”
National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys are providing free legal aid to public sector workers in over two dozen cases across the country to enforce the Janus decision. To assist public employees in learning about their First Amendment rights under Janus, the Foundation established a special website: MyJanusRights.org.
Teamsters Hit with Federal Charge for Attack on Sysco Foods Employee Collecting Petitions Opposing Union
Teamsters agents snatched petitions of workers opposed to Teamsters, refuse to return employees’ petitions, are illegally using list to intimidate workers
Calera, AL (May 3, 2019) – Sulane Lowery, an employee of Sysco Foods of Central Alabama, filed a federal unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and Teamsters Local 612 for violating his and his colleagues’ rights under the National Labor Relations Act.
The charge, filed with free legal aid from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, details how Teamsters agents violated his rights by physically intimidating Lowery and seizing the petitions he was collecting to oppose the imposition of the Teamsters’ monopoly “representation” on his workplace.
According to the NLRB charge, the Teamsters have targeted workers at the Sysco warehouse where Lowery is employed for Teamsters monopoly representation. Lowery, not wanting to be forced under a one-size-fits-all Teamsters union contract, organized a counter petition drive in opposition to the Teamsters.
According to Lowery’s charge, while he was gathering the petitions from his coworkers several Teamsters agents “ripped from his hands the petitions he was collecting” and proceeded to steal employee information they contained. The attack is believed to be caught on tape by security cameras.
The seized petitions were never returned. The charge notes that the information on the illegally seized petitions continue to be used to unlawfully threaten, restrain, and coerce the workers who are opposed to unionization by the Teamsters.
The charge will now be investigated by the NLRB Region 10 Director, based in Atlanta, Georgia.
“Sulane Lowery is simply exercising his right to oppose Teamsters monopoly unionization, but rather than seeking to convince workers to voluntarily affiliate with their union, Teamsters bullies have resorted to physical intimidation and coercion,” observed National Right to Work President Foundation Mark Mix. “Given Teamsters union bosses’ well-deserved reputation for using violence to shut down dissent, it is critical that the NLRB quickly prosecute the Teamsters for this blatantly illegal behavior.”
Washington, D.C. (May 2, 2019) – Today the Department of Health and Human Services has issued a final rule that clarifies that the diversion of Medicaid payments from providers to third parties, including unions, violates federal law.
As a gift to the Obama Administration’s political backers, in 2014 that administration promulgated a regulation to give legal cover to ongoing schemes by the SEIU and other unions that siphoned off over $1 billion in Medicaid funds.
Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation, issued the following statement:
“Today’s rule is another important step forward in protecting the rights of homecare workers from rapacious union officials. In 2014, Foundation attorneys freed homecare workers from compulsory union fee requirements in Harris v. Quinn, which held those fees unconstitutional.
Today, this long-overdue rule closes the illegal loophole created by the Obama Administration that that has provided union officials with legal cover to siphon hundreds of millions of dollars in Medicaid funds into union political and lobbying activities. While the rule will still need to be robustly enforced, today’s announcement is an encouraging action toward stopping union bosses from unlawfully using public payment systems to intercept tax dollars intended for providers caring for those in need.”
Click here to read the rule.
Click here for more information, including on the National Right to Work Foundation’s efforts for years to halt to scheme, including the landmark 2014 Harris v. Quinn U.S. Supreme Court decision invalidating union attempts to mandate Medicaid providers fund union activities.
UConn Professor Refunded Over $5,000 in Union Fees Seized in Violation of his First Amendment Rights
Supreme Court’s Janus decision leads AAUP union officials to quickly settle civil rights lawsuit filed by UConn School of Business accounting professor
Storrs, CT (April 24, 2019) – National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys have secured a victory for a University of Connecticut School of Business professor who filed a lawsuit in January seeking the return of forced union fees seized from him by union officials in violation of his First Amendment rights.
Under the settlement, the American Association of University Professors union (AAUP) has returned $5,251.48 in unlawfully obtained union fees to accounting professor Steven Utke. Union officials were forced to settle because of the Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME, a 2018 Foundation-won case that found that any mandatory union payments taken from public employees without their consent violate their First Amendment constitutional rights.
Since Utke was hired by the university in 2015, AAUP, which has monopoly bargaining powers over all professors, including those opposed to union representation, deducted fees from Utke’s paycheck. Utke was not a member of the AAUP, and further never consented to have the money deducted from his paycheck.
Eventually Utke, with free legal representation from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, filed a federal lawsuit in the United States District Court for Connecticut on January 14, 2019, on the grounds that AAUP officials had infringed his First Amendment rights. The suit cited the Janus v. AFSCME decision, which declared that forced fees for government employees constitute coerced speech and are thus unconstitutional.
Janus v. AFSCME, which was decided in June of 2018, overturned the wrongly-decided 1977 decision in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education that public-sector workers could be compelled as a condition of employment to pay union fees for bargaining-related purposes. In Janus, the Court ruled that it is unconstitutional to require government workers to pay any union dues or fees as a condition of employment, because bargaining with the government is political. Additionally, the Court clarified that no union dues or fees can be taken from workers without their affirmative consent and knowing waiver of their First Amendment right not to financially support a labor union.
Rather than face Foundation staff attorneys in court, AAUP backed down and settled the case earlier this month. Now, as stipulated by the terms of the settlement, AAUP officials have returned to Utke almost four years of union fees seized in violation of his rights plus interest. They further pledged not to collect any dues or fees from Utke’s future wages unless he affirmatively chooses to become a member of AAUP and authorizes such deductions.
“Steven Utke joins the growing ranks of workers across the country who, citing the Janus precedent, are receiving refunds for the forced union fees seized from them by greedy union officials in violation of the First Amendment,” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “Unfortunately, tens of thousands of other public employees are still waiting for the refunds they should get, with Foundation staff attorneys continuing to litigate numerous such cases.”
Foundation staff attorneys secured the first-in-the-nation refund of forced union dues after Janus for Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife employee Debora Nearman, and subsequently have won similar refunds for public employees elsewhere.
The Foundation has created a special website, MyJanusRights.org, to assist public employees in exercising their rights under Janus, which was successfully argued by National Right to Work Foundation staff attorney William Messenger.
National Right to Work Foundation Offers Free Legal Aid to VW Chattanooga Workers Targeted for Unionization by UAW Officials
Scandal-ridden Detroit-based union was rejected by workers in 2014 vote
Chattanooga, Tenn. (April 15, 2019) – The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping workers protect their rights against compulsory union abuses, is offering free legal aid to employees at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga, Tennessee plant. The offer comes as United Auto Workers (UAW) union officials once again attempt to force workers at the plant into the union’s monopoly bargaining ranks.
UAW organizers attempted to unionize the facility’s workers five years ago, even demanding that the company install the union through a coercive union card check. However, when the VW workers eventually held a secret ballot vote they rejected UAW representation 712-626. Foundation staff attorneys provided free legal aid to VW workers both before and after the 2014 vote, including in defending the result of the vote after UAW lawyers moved to overturn the union’s defeat at the National Labor Relations Board.
Foundation staff attorneys also assisted VW workers in filing charges, citing improprieties in the UAW’s card check campaign in Chattanooga, which included union attempts to get workers to sign union authorization cards through coercion and misrepresentation and the UAW’s use of cards signed too long ago to be legally valid.
To guard against similar improprieties surrounding the proposed election now sought by union organizers, the Foundation is once again offering free legal aid to VW Chattanooga team members. Additionally, Foundation staff attorneys have created a special legal notice to the workers explaining their legal rights. That notice can be found on the Foundation’s website here.
Regarding UAW officials’ renewed push for union monopoly bargaining powers over the Volkswagen Chattanooga employees, National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix offered the following comments:
“UAW boss demands that both Volkswagen and the community be silent suggests they are scared that if workers get all the facts the workers will want nothing to do with this scandal-ridden union. Just days ago a federal judge labeled the UAW a ‘co-conspirator’ in a corruption and embezzlement scandal that has already resulted in numerous UAW officials being sent to prison for their role in illegally stealing workers’ training funds. The UAW’s desire to hold this vote as quickly as possible is apparently an attempt to make workers vote without the full facts and before the next embarrassing development in the union’s ever-expanding corruption scandal.”
Stop & Shop Employee Hits UFCW Union with Federal Charges for Illegal Threats, Slurs During Union-Ordered Strike
UFCW boss misinformed worker about his rights by claiming union membership was mandatory. Others retaliated with slurs and threats when worker defied strike
Quincy, MA (April 18, 2019) – A Massachusetts Stop & Shop employee filed federal unfair labor practice charges against United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1459 alleging that a top union official blatantly misinformed him by telling him that he could not resign his union membership and return to work during a union-ordered strike or he would be fired. The charge was filed with free legal aid from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys.
The charging employee has worked at Stop & Shop Supermarket Company since 2017. When he started the job, he became a member of UFCW Local 1459 as union officials led him to believe that union membership was a condition of employment.
Earlier in April, UFCW union officials ordered over 30,000 Shop & Stop grocery employees on strike in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. The charging employee asked UFCW Local 1459 about his rights to continue working despite the union-ordered strike. In response, a top union official told him in writing that Stop & Shop is a “closed shop” and that he would lose his job if he resigned union membership and returned to work.
That threat contradicts federal law, which protects a worker’s right to resign his or her union membership at any time. Resignation protects a worker who wants to return to work despite a union strike. As a nonmember, he or she cannot legally be subjected to punitive union strike fines.
Additionally, when there is no union monopoly bargaining agreement in effect, as is the case for workplaces impacted by the UFCW’s strike against Stop & Shop, workers who resign from the union can immediately revoke any authorization for payment of union dues.
After being misled, the charging employee learned his rights and decided to return to work. His charges allege that since his return, he has been subjected to slurs based on sexual orientation, threats of violence, and other similar harassment by, or instigated by, UFCW Local 1459 union officials.
To combat the threats and violations of his rights, he sought free legal aid from Foundation staff attorneys. His charges state that the UFCW Local 1459 union official’s claim that he would be fired if he resigned union membership to return to work was “a blatant falsehood and misrepresentation of the law,” because employees have the right at any time to revoke their union memberships and resume work during a strike to support themselves and their families.
Moreover, under federal law unions must give workers clear notice of their right to refrain from union membership and pay reduced nonmember forced fees. The employee’s charges allege that union officials have never given him such notice. His charges also state that the union officials’ harassment in retaliation for his choice to return to work violates the union’s duty of fair representation.
“This worker is refusing to let union bosses bully him into submission through outright lies and threats simply because he has decided that continuing to work is in his best interest,” said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “As is unfortunately common when union bosses instigate a work stoppage, union officials are again violating the rights of the workers they claim to ‘represent.’”
“Foundation staff attorneys stand ready to assist other workers who run into union misinformation and threats when they choose to exercise their right to return to work,” added Mix.
The National Right to Work Foundation released a special legal notice informing Stop & Shop employees of their rights during the union-ordered strike. The notice can be found at: https://www.nrtw.org/special-notice-for-new-england-based-employees-of-shop-stop/.
Final Brief Filed Asking Supreme Court to Hear Case Challenging Forced Union Affiliation as First Amendment Violation
Minnesota home-based personal care providers argue being forced under SEIU union monopoly ‘representation’ violates their freedom to associate
Washington, D.C. (April 17, 2019) – Today, National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys filed the final brief in Bierman v. Walz asking the Supreme Court to hear a group of Minnesota home care providers’ challenge to forced union affiliation.
The home care providers are challenging a Minnesota state law used to force tens of thousands of home care providers under union monopoly “representation.” The providers, who work at home caring for disabled family members as part of a state-run Medicaid program, oppose union affiliation.
The case’s lead plaintiff, Teri Bierman, filed the suit with seven other home care providers to challenge a 2013 Minnesota state law used by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Healthcare Minnesota to force home care providers to associate with it as a condition of providing care under the state Medicaid program. Bierman v. Walz asks the Supreme Court to declare unconstitutional under the First Amendment’s free association guarantee the unions’ monopoly bargaining privileges, by which a union forces its representation on individuals receiving state funds who do not consent to the representation.
Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation, issued the following statement about the case:
“These home care providers are bravely challenging an unconstitutional scheme that compels them to associate with a union to receive state funds to care for their own children in their own homes. We hope the Supreme Court takes this opportunity to apply the First Amendment’s protection of freedom of association to Big Labor’s unparalleled monopoly bargaining ‘representation’ privileges that force individuals to submit to union bosses’ control.”
Teri Bierman and the other home care providers provide critical care to their family members who receive state assistance to help pay for their care. Bierman provides care at home for her daughter, who suffers from cerebral palsy and requires care throughout the day. The other plaintiffs in the case care for children diagnosed with severe autism, epilepsy, Rubenstein-Taybi syndrome, or other significant disabilities. Like the other plaintiffs, Bierman receives aid from a Minnesota Medicaid program (which provides funds to families to care for disabled relatives).
By asking the Court to declare monopoly bargaining a violation of the First Amendment, Foundation staff attorneys seek to build off two recent Foundation-won Supreme Court decisions. In the 2014 Harris v. Quinn decision, the Court applied exacting First Amendment scrutiny to rule that providers like the Bierman plaintiffs cannot be required to pay union fees.
Next, in the June 2018 Janus v. AFSCME decision, the Court declared that forced union fees for all public sector employees violate the First Amendment and opened the door to further cases seeking to uphold workers’ rights to freedom of speech and freedom of association. In his opinion for the majority, Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the Court that “designating a union as the employees’ exclusive representative substantially restricts the rights of individual employees.”
Both Harris and Janus were argued by National Right to Work Foundation staff attorney William Messenger, who is also the lead attorney in Bierman v. Walz. Bierman now asks the Supreme Court, for the first time, to apply the same First Amendment standard to forced association as it has already applied to forced subsidies of union speech.