1 Jun 2020

West Virginia Supreme Court Cites Foundation-Won Janus Case in Decision to Uphold Right to Work Law

Posted in In the News

In April the West Virginia Supreme Court upheld West Virginia’s Right to Work law, ending a multi-year union boss legal challenge.

National Right to Work Foundation Vice President and Legal Director Raymond LaJeunesse wrote an article for The Federalist Society analyzing the decision in the case: Morrisey v. West Virginia AFL-CIO. LaJeunesse just published piece highlights how the justices relied heavily on the Foundation-won Janus v. AFSCME U.S. Supreme Court decision to uphold the law protecting workers against being forced to subsidize union activities:

“Four of the five Justices concluded in Morrisey that the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME, 138 S. Ct. 2448 (2018), required that result. Janus held that forcing nonmembers to pay union fees as a condition of public employment violates the First Amendment. As Justice Workman put it, concurring in the judgment of the Court in Morrisey, ‘there is no principled basis on which to conclude that under the legal analysis upon which Janus is based, a prohibition on the collection of agency fees is constitutional for public employees’ unions but unconstitutional for private employees’ unions.'”

Foundation staff attorneys filed 10 legal briefs in Morrisey in defense of West Virginia’s Right to Work law. Foundation President Mark Mix hailed the decision as a “a great victory for Mountain State employees.”

Since 2012, Foundation staff attorneys have defended and enforced five newly passed Right to Work in states including West Virginia.

 

 

31 May 2020

San Diego Charter School Teachers Demand Election to Oust Union Bosses

The following article is from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation’s bi-monthly Foundation Action Newsletter, March/April 2020 edition. To view other editions or to sign up for a free subscription, click here.

Union bosses attempt to block educators from voting to escape controversial union

Dr. Kristie Chiscano

Dr. Kristie Chiscano, chemistry teacher at GPA, spearheaded the effort for a vote to remove SDEA union bosses from the school. Despite having the signatures of more than enough teachers, union bosses are trying to block the vote.

SAN DIEGO, CA – Teachers at San Diego’s Gompers Preparatory Academy (GPA) have collected enough signatures to trigger a vote to remove the San Diego Education Association (SDEA) union from monopoly bargaining power at the school.

Dr. Kristie Chiscano, a chemistry teacher at the charter school, submitted the decertification petition at the California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) with free legal aid from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. However, rather than allow the teachers to vote in a secret ballot election whether to remove the union, SDEA bosses have filed “blocking charges” at the PERB in an attempt to block the election.

Teachers and Parents Oppose Union Power Grab at School

Controversy has surrounded the SDEA’s presence at GPA, as the union installed itself in January 2019 after conducting a “Card Check” drive. In the abuse-prone “Card Check” process, union organizers bypass a secret-ballot election and instead rely on a variety of pressure tactics to get employees to sign union cards that are later counted as “votes” for unionization.

GPA transitioned from being a regular public school to a charter preparatory academy in 2005 as the result of a campaign by parents, teachers, and administrators who believed that school district and union bureaucracies were not serving the students’ interests. Specifically, many in the community felt the old regime was failing to combat gang violence and teacher attrition at the school.

Since the school’s unionization without a secret ballot vote in January 2019, no monopoly bargaining contract has been approved. All the while, GPA parents and educators have accused SDEA agents of sowing division at the school, including by supporting anti-charter school legislation, making unnecessary and disparaging comments to school leadership during bargaining sessions, and plotting to prevent the California NAACP from giving the school’s director, Vincent Riveroll, an award for helping minority students succeed.

“It all changed once the union started,” GPA parent Theressah Rodriguez told the San Diego Union-Tribune about the union in January. “Now, whenever you come in, you feel the hostility.”

Foundation Aids Educators in Filing Popular Petition to Remove Union

Dr. Chiscano, who teaches chemistry to 10th and 11th grade students, began circulating the decertification petition last October. She soon obtained the signatures of well over the number of her fellow educators necessary to trigger a PERB-supervised secret-ballot vote to remove the union. The petition was filed with PERB immediately following the one-year anniversary of the union’s installation, the soonest she could file the petition under California law.

However, last December, union officials preemptively filed a charge at PERB seeking “that the certification year be extended.” That would block the educators’ right to remove the union from their workplace for another year despite no evidence or even an allegation that any educator violated the law. Such “blocking charges” are a tactic union lawyers frequently use to block rank-and-file employees from holding secret-ballot elections that could result in the removal of union officials from power as the employees’ designated monopoly representative.

With an impending legal battle over the union’s attempt to block her decertification petition, Dr. Chiscano turned to the National Right to Work Foundation to challenge this attempt by union officials to stymie her and her coworkers’ right to hold a decertification vote to oust a union they believe lacks the support of a majority of the school’s educators.

“Rather than face a secretballot vote of the rank-and-file educators they claim to represent, SDEA union bosses are resorting to legal trickery to trap teachers in a union they oppose by blocking their right to hold a decertification election,” observed National Right to Work Foundation Vice President Patrick Semmens. “By using these coercive tactics to attempt to trap teachers in union ranks, SDEA union officials do wrong by GPA’s namesake, AFL-CIO union founder Samuel Gompers, who himself urged devotion to ‘the principles of voluntarism’ and reminded all American workers that ‘no lasting gain has ever come from compulsion.’”

31 May 2020

Foundation Aids Workers Nationwide in Cases to Vindicate Janus Rights

The following article is from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation’s bi-monthly Foundation Action Newsletter, March/April 2020 edition. To view other editions or to sign up for a free subscription, click here.

Workers seek rulings ordering union bosses to refund dues taken in violation of landmark decision

Connecticut public employees Kiernan Wholean (left) and James Grillo are fighting SEIU bosses at the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, demanding years of dues seized in violation of their Janus rights.

NEW YORK, NY – The Foundation’s victory at the Supreme Court in Janus v. AFSCME set a groundbreaking precedent. The High Court finally recognized that requiring public sector workers to pay union dues as a condition of employment violates their First Amendment rights, and that “affirmative and knowing” consent is required before deducting dues from any employee.

But union bosses from AFSCME and other public sector unions still refuse to relinquish dues money that they seized from employee paychecks without their consent before the Janus decision came down. While Mark Janus continues his case  to get back seized dues, Foundation staff attorneys are also arguing in federal Courts of Appeals for other public servants from Connecticut and New Hampshire seeking the return of dues seized from thousands of workers in violation of the Janus precedent.

Connecticut, New Hampshire Public Workers Demand Refunds for Thousands

At the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) employees Kiernan Wholean and James Grillo seek a ruling that will make Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 2001 bosses give back at least two years’ worth of fees exacted from their paychecks in violation of Janus, plus interest. Because their lawsuit is a class action, a favorable ruling could result in refunds for hundreds of Connecticut public employees.

At the First Circuit Court of Appeals, Foundation staff attorneys are litigating another class action lawsuit for New Hampshire public employees Patrick Doughty and Randy Severance. Doughty and Severance are asking the court to make New Hampshire SEIU bosses return three years of unconstitutionally seized fees, as permitted by the statute of limitations.

All four employees are not members of their respective SEIU local unions. In these and similar cases, union bosses have used a dubious “good faith” argument to defend their seizing of dues before Janus came down. Foundation staff attorney Jeffrey Jennings points out in his argument for Wholean and Grillo that, on top of the Janus ruling making those deductions illegal, union bosses certainly have “no reasonable grounds for believing [they] could keep their money” after the Janus decision.

In Connecticut, Foundation staff attorneys in 2019 successfully secured a refund of dues seized before Janus for UConn accounting professor Steven Utke, whom American Association of University Professors (AAUP) bosses targeted with illegal dues deductions since he was hired in 2015. When AAUP officials chose to settle the case in 2019 after Foundation staff attorneys filed a lawsuit, Utke received back over $5,000 in refunds.

“The Supreme Court was crystal clear in Janus:  All union fees seized from a public worker without his or her consent violate the First Amendment,” observed National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “Despite that clarity, union hierarchies around the country are still flush with dues money that was seized in violation of public employees’ First Amendment rights.”

Since the Janus decision in 2018, Foundation attorneys have litigated more than 30 cases seeking to enforce and expand the Janus victory. Ten of those have already resulted in refunds of seized dues for employees, including Oregon wildlife employee Debora Nearman’s case, the first case in the nation to result in a refund of dues seized in violation of the Janus precedent. SEIU bosses were forced to settle and give back to Nearman nearly $3,000 in illegal fees they had seized from her over two years, during which they sponsored an aggressive political campaign against Nearman’s own husband, who ran successfully for the Oregon Legislature in 2016.

30 May 2020

NLRB Cases Challenge Coercive ‘Neutrality Agreements’ Used to Impose Forced Unionism

The following article is from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation’s bi-monthly Foundation Action Newsletter, March/April 2020 edition. To view other editions or to sign up for a free subscription, click here.

Housekeepers demand NLRB block unionization resulting from back-room “Card Check” deals

From left, housekeepers Lady Laura Javier, Cindy J. Alarcon Vasquez, and Yesica Perez Barrios are charging hotel officials and union bosses with illegally corralling workers into union ranks with a corrupted “Card Check” recognition.

SEATTLE, WA – Housekeeper Gladys Bryant was granted an appeal by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) General Counsel in her case challenging the use of a so-called “neutrality agreement” between UNITE HERE union officials and her employer to impose a union on the hotel’s workers.

Meanwhile, four Boston housekeepers have filed similar NLRB charges against their employer Yotel Boston and UNITE HERE Local 26, alleging that union officials violated federal law by imposing union representation on workers through a coercive “Card Check” drive with their employer’s assistance.

General Counsel Finds That UNITE HERE “Card Check” Unionization Was Tainted

Bryant filed the unfair labor practice charges after the UNITE HERE Local 8 union was installed at the Embassy Suites hotel in May 2018 through an oft-abused “Card Check” drive which bypassed the NLRB’s secret ballot election process.

As part of its so-called “neutrality agreement,”  Embassy Suites agreed to give union organizers access to the hotel to meet and solicit employees. The agreement also provided union officials with a list of all employees’ names, jobs, and contact information to assist the union in collecting authorization cards from employees.

After NLRB Region 19 officials declined to prosecute the union or employer for violations of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), Bryant appealed the case to the NLRB General Counsel in January 2019. The NLRB General Counsel agreed with Bryant’s Foundation attorneys that Embassy Suites provided UNITE HERE’s organizing campaign with more than “ministerial aid” and thus violated the NLRA.

The NLRB has long held that an employer taints employees’ efforts to remove a union if it gives the employees support such as providing a list of bargaining unit employees or use of company resources. Bryant’s appeal successfully argued that the “ministerial aid” standard must also apply when an employer aids union officials’ efforts to gain monopoly bargaining power over workers.

Boston Housekeepers Argue Union “Card Check” Must Be Overturned

Faced with a similar situation, Boston-area housekeepers Cindy J. Alarcon Vasquez, Lady Laura Javier, Yesica Perez Barrios, and Danela Guzman filed unfair labor practice charges with the NLRB. With free legal aid from the National Right to Work Foundation, the housekeepers argue that UNITE HERE union officials violated federal law by imposing union representation on workers through a coercive “Card Check” drive with the assistance of their employer, Yotel Boston.

As in the Seattle case, they charge that Yotel Boston company officials provided UNITE HERE’s organizing campaign with more than “ministerial aid” and therefore illegally tainted the union’s installation as the employees’ exclusive representative in the workplace. The housekeepers charge union officials with violating the NLRA by requesting and accepting the illegal assistance, and the hotel for providing it.

“It is long past time that the NLRB put an end to this biased double standard that allows union bosses to abuse workers’ rights,” said National Right to Work Foundation Vice President and Legal Director Ray LaJeunesse. “The General Counsel is correct to finally recognize that what qualifies as more than ‘ministerial assistance and support,’ and thus violates the National Labor Relations Act, cannot depend on whether the employer is helping outside union organizers impose unionization on workers or assisting workers in exercising their right to remove an unwanted union.”

“These cases represent another breakthrough in the Foundation’s challenges to the pro-forced unionism skew at the NLRB,” added LaJeunesse.

29 May 2020

Michigan Nurse Sues Teamsters for Violating Michigan’s Right to Work Law

The following article is from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation’s bi-monthly Foundation Action Newsletter, March/April 2020 edition. To view other editions or to sign up for a free subscription, click here.

Lawsuit: Union bosses illegally ignored repeated requests to stop union dues deductions

Since former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed Right to Work into law, Foundation staff attorneys have filed well over 100 cases for workers fighting forced unionism in the state.

FLINT, MI – Madrina Wells, a nurse at the Genesys Regional Medical Center, first tried to exercise her right to end all union dues deductions from her paycheck in December 2018, in accordance with Michigan’s Right to Work Law.

But, for well over a year now, the Teamsters union bosses at her workplace have continuously violated that right and kept requiring her to pay union fees. Finally, in December, she filed a lawsuit against them with free legal aid from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys.

Teamsters Officials Ignored Six Attempts by Nurse to Exercise Rights

According to the complaint filed in Genesee County Circuit Court, Wells resigned her union membership in February 2018 and requested that Teamsters officials cease all dues deductions from her paycheck in December of the same year.

Notwithstanding her request, Teamsters bosses sent her a letter in January 2019 demanding that she pay them non-member forced fees after she returned from a stint on medical leave, which she had begun in December 2018.

Though a reduced amount of union dues can be charged to private sector employees who abstain from formal union membership in non-Right to Work states, in Right to Work states like Michigan no public or private sector employee is required to pay any amount of union fees as a condition of employment.

Wells resumed work in July 2019, and sent a letter to Teamsters officials “renewing her objection” to tendering any dues or fees whatsoever to the Teamsters hierarchy. Teamsters bosses again rebuffed her request and subsequently demanded forced fees from Wells for July through December of 2019, all in clear violation of her rights.

Wells responded to each demand by reiterating her objection to the illegal fees, but submitted the fees demanded by Teamsters bosses under protest. Even so, Genesys Regional Medical Center not only deducted the Teamsters’ so-called “agency fee” from Wells’ paycheck in August 2019, but also seized the full amount of union dues from her paycheck in October.

Scores of Workers Turn to Foundation After Right to Work Enacted

Since Michigan’s Right to Work Law went into effect in 2013, Foundation staff attorneys have provided free legal aid to Wolverine State workers in over 120 cases.

In 2018, Foundation staff attorneys won a settlement for Port Huronarea public school employees Tammy Williams and Linda Gervais, ending dues demands made by the Michigan Education Association union (MEA) in violation of the Right to Work law. To date, as a result of that settlement, over 20 Wolverine State teachers have been freed from illegal dues demands.

“Once again Michigan union bosses have been caught shamelessly violating the Wolverine State’s Right to Work law,” commented National Right to Work Foundation Vice President Patrick Semmens. “Foundation staff attorneys will continue the fight until all Michigan workers can freely exercise their right not to fund unions they fundamentally disagree with.”

27 May 2020

Foundation Urges NLRB to Kill Policies Used to Trap Workers

The following article is from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation’s bi-monthly Foundation Action Newsletter, March/April 2020 edition. In April 2020, the NLRB announced that it would effectively eliminate the “blocking charge” and “voluntary recognition bar” policies. To view other editions or to sign up for a free subscription, click here.

Comments: End arbitrary restrictions on employee votes to remove unwanted unions

Free at last: Lead petitioner Liz Chase (front, left) and her fellow Alaska bus drivers hold up “no-union” buttons after finally ousting an unpopular Teamsters union from  their workplace. Union bosses trapped them in union ranks for years.

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation submitted comments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in January, urging it to issue a final rule to eliminate arbitrary policies that union officials frequently manipulate to trap workers in union ranks.

The three policies at issue in the NLRB’s rulemaking are not mandated or even mentioned by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), the federal law that the NLRB is charged with enforcing. These policies were created by rulings of past Big Labor-friendly Boards. The comments approve of the Trump NLRB’s plan to alter all three policies, but advocate the Board go even further to protect independent-minded workers in how it deals with so-called “blocking charges.”

“Delays in the rulemaking process this Board has used to address these coercive policies means workers across the country continue to be trapped in unions they oppose,” National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix observed. “Which is why the NLRB should now swiftly finalize these rules as the Foundation’s comments advocate.”

The NLRB’s “blocking charge” policy lets union bosses file often baseless unfair labor practice (ULP) charges against an employer to halt employee votes to decertify unions. These charges regularly block votes even if the allegations against the employer have no connection to the decertification effort.

Foundation: Stop Letting Union Bosses Block Votes to Remove Unwanted Unions

The agency plans to eliminate that policy and replace it with one that lets decertification elections proceed while such charges are pending, but requires the results of the vote to be withheld until those charges are resolved.

Instead, the Foundation urges the Board to release vote tallies first to “decrease litigation and give parties greater information on whether to settle” unfair labor practice charge allegations unlikely to impact the election’s outcome. This would help prevent attempts by union bosses to drag out the ULP process and keep workers trapped in forced-dues paying ranks.

Foundation staff attorneys have provided legal assistance to scores of workers faced with “blocking charges,” including recently a group of Alaskan bus drivers who were finally freed in December 2019 from an unpopular Teamsters union after three years of attempts to remove it. One employee in that situation, Don Johnson (pictured front, right), commented to the NLRB that Teamsters officials’ continued blocking of an election was “the most unfair and anti-democratic event” with which he had ever been involved.

The Foundation’s comments also support the NLRB’s move to modify the so-called “voluntary recognition bar.”

Comments: Put a Check on “Card Check” and Other Coercive Schemes

This reform will allow employees and rival unions to file for secretballot votes after unions have been installed in workplaces through abuse-prone “Card Check” drives, which bypass the NLRB-supervised election process.

The NLRB would reinstate a system secured by Foundation staff attorneys for workers in the 2007 Dana Corp NLRB decision. Although thousands of workers used the process to secure secret ballot votes after being unionized through card checks, the Obama NLRB overturned Dana in 2010.

The Foundation’s comments also support the agency’s proposed rule to crack down on schemes in the construction industry where employers and union bosses are allowed to unilaterally install a union in a workplace without first providing proof of majority union support among the workers. Foundation staff attorneys represented a victim of such a scheme in a case (Colorado Fire Sprinkler, Inc.) that ended when a D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals panel unanimously ruled for the worker, who had been unionized despite no evidence of majority employee support for the union.

Foundation Supporters Flood NLRB with Comments Supporting Rule Changes

The Foundation has long called for the NLRB to abandon all barriers to employee decertification of unions not required or mentioned in the text of the NLRA. In reply comments filed later with the NLRB, Foundation staff attorneys made this point, and also supported comments made by NLRB General Counsel Peter Robb calling for expanded protections for workers unionized through coercive “Card Check” drives.

In addition to the Foundation’s detailed legal arguments, the Foundation used its email list to rally thousands of supporters to sign petitions to the Board in favor of eliminating the non-statutory policies that union bosses rely on to trap workers in forced unionism ranks against their will. All told, more than 18,000 petitions were submitted, asking the Board to “immediately implement the rule changes as detailed in the National Right to Work Foundation’s comments.”

The NLRB is expected to issue the final rule in the coming months.

26 May 2020

Foundation Staff Attorneys Appeal NLRB Settlement that Fails to Compensate Victims of Union Discrimination Scheme

Posted in News Releases

Tygart Center settlement failed to provide a complete remedy to employees for its discriminatory practice of paying more per hour to union stewards

Fairmont, WV (May 26, 2020) – National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys have appealed a forced settlement agreement between the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and Tygart Center imposed on healthcare worker Donna Harper. Harper objects to the imposed settlement because it fails to provide a complete remedy for her and other workers who were discriminated against under the union bargaining agreement between Tygart Center and Teamsters Local 175.

In the settlement, Tygart Center agrees to stop enforcing an unlawful contract provision under which Teamsters union stewards have been paid more per hour than other employees. However, as Foundation attorneys argue in their appeal to NLRB General Counsel Peter Robb, the settlement does not require Tygart Center to compensate the employees who were denied the additional pay per hour as a result of the discrimination.

“The Employer and Union unlawfully discriminated in favor of Union stewards, granting them an increased wage in the [union contract] while denying that wage to all others,” one portion of the appeal reads. “This action denied a benefit to every employee who was not a Union steward.”

Foundation staff attorneys also filed an amicus brief for Harper with the West Virginia Supreme Court to defend the state’s Right to Work law against a protracted lawsuit brought by several unions attempting to overturn the law and restore union officials’ power to have workers fired for refusing to pay union dues or fees.

The West Virginia Supreme Court on April 21 of this year unanimously upheld the constitutionality of West Virginia’s Right to Work law, which has been in effect during that litigation due to earlier orders issued by that court.

“Union bosses in West Virginia want nothing more than to coerce workers into paying dues either by misleading workers by wrongly telling them they must pay union dues or by trying unsuccessfully to overturn the state’s Right to Work law in court,” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “Foundation staff attorneys are ensuring that employers and union bosses in the Mountain State do not get away with illegal deals to fill union coffers or unlawfully discriminate against employees who choose to exercise their rights to not engage in union activity.”

25 May 2020
22 May 2020

Illinois Home Healthcare Provider Hits SEIU Union with Lawsuit for Seizing Dues in Violation of First Amendment Rights

Posted in News Releases

Union requires home healthcare providers to submit photo identification just to exercise constitutional right to stop union dues deductions

Chicago, IL (May 22, 2020) – An Illinois home healthcare provider has filed a federal class-action civil rights lawsuit against the SEIU Healthcare Illinois and Indiana union (SEIU-HCII), for seizing dues from her compensation without her affirmative consent, and for enforcing arbitrary restrictions on her right to cut off dues deductions. The lawsuit, filed with free legal aid from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys, charges the union with breaching home healthcare providers’ First Amendment rights under the Foundation-won Harris v. Quinn and Janus v. AFSCME Supreme Court decisions.

In Harris, won by Foundation staff attorneys in 2014, the High Court recognized that the First Amendment is violated by schemes to forcibly extract dues from home healthcare providers who assist individuals whose care is subsidized by the government. In the 2018 Janus decision, the Supreme Court struck down mandatory union fees for public sector workers as an infringement of their First Amendment rights, and ruled that the government can only deduct union dues or fees with an individual’s affirmative and knowing consent.

The plaintiff, Hydie Nance, provides home-based healthcare under the auspices of Illinois’ Home Services Plan. This program provides Medicaid funds to people with disabilities so they can hire and pay “personal assistants” to help them with their day-to-day activities. Nance’s complaint points out that the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) deducts union dues from these subsidies at the behest of SEIU-HCII union officials, and does so without notifying personal assistants “that they have a First Amendment right not to financially support SEIU-HCII.”

According to the complaint, Nance sent letters to both DHS and SEIU-HCII officials in November 2019 exercising her First Amendment right to end her union membership and cut off dues deductions. Both union and state officials ignored Nance’s attempt to exercise her rights and continued to deduct full union dues from her subsidies. The lawsuit also alleges that the dues deduction policy the state and SEIU-HCII enforce requires the DHS to “not respond to notices it receives from personal assistants to stop dues deductions unless and until SEIU-HCII instructs DHS to cease the deductions.”

Nance renewed her objection to union membership and dues deductions in March, the lawsuit says. While DHS again did not respond to the letter, SEIU-HCII officials sent an email acknowledging receipt of her request but claiming they “unfortunately cannot process it without your valid photo id,” instructing her to submit a picture of a photo ID in response to the message. SEIU-HCII bosses and DHS officials “do not notify personal assistants that they must submit a photo identification” unless union bosses reject a request to cut off dues, the lawsuit notes.

Nance’s complaint contends that this process “impedes and burdens personal assistants’ First Amendment right to stop subsidizing SEIU-HCII and its speech” and additionally “impinges on personal assistants’ right to privacy and exposes them to the threat of identity theft.” The lawsuit asks that the District Court declare unconstitutional SEIU-HCII’s continuing dues seizures after receiving written objections and that the court forbid enforcement of the policy. The complaint also requests that the union return to home healthcare providers all money it has seized illegally under the policy.

One of the attorneys representing Nance is William Messenger, a veteran National Right to Work Foundation staff attorney who argued and won the Janus and Harris cases at the Supreme Court. The lead plaintiff in the latter case, Pamela Harris, is also an Illinois home healthcare provider who filed suit with free legal aid from the Foundation after the SEIU sought to force her to pay union fees just for receiving state subsidies to care for her son in her own home.

“Individuals cannot be forced to produce a photo ID just to exercise their legal rights, nor does the state of Illinois need the permission of SEIU bosses before respecting the First Amendment rights of healthcare workers,” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “Years after the Supreme Court in Harris and later in Janus explicitly recognized the First Amendment right that home healthcare providers have to refuse to subsidize a union, SEIU union bosses and their allies in Illinois still are more interested in filling union coffers with forced dues than respecting the constitutional rights of those they claim to represent.”

21 May 2020

Lawsuit Secures Additional $31,000 for Michigan Emergency and Medical Workers Subjected to UAW Forced Union Dues Scheme

Posted in News Releases

Previous federal labor board case won $26,000 in refunds of forced dues seized from workers despite Michigan Right to Work law making union membership and payments voluntary

Flint, MI (May 21, 2020) – A Genesee County judge approved a settlement giving more financial compensation to 263 EMTs, paramedics, wheelchair drivers and dispatchers to conclude a class action lawsuit filed by National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys for two workers against United Auto Workers Local 708 (UAW) and their employer.

The settlement grants named plaintiffs Skyler Korinek and Donald McCarty and 261 other employees of STAT Emergency Medical Services a total of $31,000 in damages in a lawsuit challenging the union and company’s violation of Michigan’s Right to Work law. Under the settlement, the UAW will pay $12,500 and STAT will pay the balance. Those damages are in addition to $26,000 UAW officials were required to refund to conclude another case filed by Korinek and McCarty with Foundation legal aid.

In the state class-action lawsuit, Foundation staff attorneys argued UAW and STAT violated Michigan’s Right to Work law by requiring employees to become UAW members and financially support the UAW as a condition of employment.

The $31,000 settlement is in addition to an earlier National Labor Relations Board settlement granting Korinek, McCarty and 168 other emergency workers $26,000 in refunds from the UAW. That settlement occurred in April last year after Foundation staff attorneys filed unfair labor practice charges for the two against the UAW and STAT for deducting union dues from the workers’ paychecks without authorization.

STAT and UAW officials entered into a monopoly bargaining agreement on September 3, 2015, that contained a so-called “union security” agreement, which required STAT employees to join and fund the UAW or lose their jobs. At that time Michigan’s Right to Work law, which protects workers from having to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment, had already been in effect for more than two years.

As part of the settlement approved Monday, UAW officials and STAT agreed not to include a so-called “union security” agreement that requires workers to join or financially support the UAW in any union contract for as long as Michigan’s Right to Work law is in effect.

“Enforcing Right to Work laws in states like Michigan is a crucial part of the Foundation’s legal aid program, one that is necessary because union bosses repeatedly demonstrate that they will violate workers’ rights to force them to pay union dues,” said National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “In Michigan, union bosses have been repeatedly caught red-handed violating workers’ protections against requirements that they subsidize union activities.”

Since Michigan passed its Right to Work law, which became effective in March 2013, Foundation staff attorneys have brought more than 120 cases for Michigan workers subjected to coercive union boss tactics.