**Washington, DC (August 24, 2006)** —National Right to Work Foundation attorneys took additional steps today to secure U.S. Supreme Court review of a controversial Washington State Supreme Court ruling which struck down a state law requirement that union officials obtain the prior consent of nonunion public employees before spending mandatory union dues for politics. The Foundation attorneys representing Washington teachers filed a reply brief with the U.S. Supreme Court to correct the record after union lawyers attempted to mislead the High Court so that it would not take up the case.
Specifically, the Right to Work brief takes the Washington Education Association (WEA) union to task for deliberately mischaracterizing the Washington Supreme Court’s ruling in order to make it appear justified. Specifically, the union claimed that the Washington law had attempted to ban unions from spending any money on politics, rather than simply banning the use of funds collected from non-union members without their affirmative authorization.
The teachers’ brief also responded to the union lawyers’ assertion that the campaign finance law had somehow placed unfair burdens on the union, even though union officials enjoy extraordinary legal privileges and immunities under Washington State law. As the Foundation’s brief points out, “Who, trying to obtain money from another, would consider it a burden to have to actually ask for the money?”
Foundation attorneys – working jointly with Steven O’Ban of Ellis, Li, and McKinstry of Seattle – originally filed the suit, Davenport v. Washington Education Association, for more than 4,000 Washington teachers who are not union members, but nonetheless forced to pay union dues or fees.
But much to the dismay of nonunion Washington employees, the long-awaited ruling in Davenport by the state supreme court in mid-March struck down the last remaining union dues provisions in I-134, Washington’s troubled “paycheck protection” law, and in the process created a precedent that could be used to attack Right to Work laws across America.
Though the Foundation believes the decision is wrongheaded, the ruling brings into focus how difficult the paycheck protection regulatory approach is, and how ineffective it has been in protecting employees laboring under forced unionism. Even if the state supreme court had upheld the law, I-134 would still only result in individual refunds of $10 per year, on average. Ultimately, only the passage of a Right to Work law in Washington would ensure that union dues are not misused.
“The real solution is to attack forced unionism at its root, rather than try to regulate its ill effects,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “The Foundation has no choice but to help mop up the damage to the First Amendment being caused by courts responding to these ‘paycheck protection’ laws.”
The brief can be found here.
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.