Longmont Police Officers Hit Police Union, Longmont City Officials with Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit
Right to Work Foundation attorneys help officers challenge union hierarchy for violating their constitutional rights
Denver, CO (October 5, 2012) – Two Longmont city police officers have filed a federal lawsuit against a local Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) union and the city for violating their rights.
Cary Nickolls and James Bundy filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado in Denver with free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys.
Both Nickolls and Bundy refrain from formal union membership in the Longmont Fraternal Order of Police (LFOP) Lodge 6 union, an affiliate of the Colorado Fraternal Order of Police, and invoked their right to not pay full union dues.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the Foundation's Chicago Teachers Union v. Hudson (1986) case that union officials can collect union fees as a condition of employment, but must first provide nonmember public workers with an independently-audited financial breakdown of all forced-dues union expenditures and the opportunity to object and challenge the amount of forced union fees before an impartial decision maker. This minimal safeguard is designed to ensure that workers have an opportunity to refrain from paying for union boss political activities and lobbying and union member-only events.
LFOP union and city officials demanded forced union fees from the officers even though union officials have continuously refused to provide an audited breakdown of FOP and LFOP union expenditures.
The City is named as a defendant in the lawsuit for its complicity in agreeing to and enforcing the forced dues clause in the monopoly bargaining agreement.
The officers seek refunds of all forced union fees illegally demanded, with interest, and to enjoin future collection of any fees until LFOP union officials comply with the requirements the Supreme Court laid down in Hudson.
"To keep their forced-dues gravy train going, Colorado police union bosses are violating the rights of officers who are sworn to protect the general public," said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. "Colorado needs to pass Right to Work protections for all its workers to free them from the handcuffs of forced union affiliation and dues payments."