Hoosier State Victory Voids Forced Union Contract
Foundation attorneys prevent union from collecting forced dues from teachers

November/December 1999 Issue

INDIANAPOLIS -- Foundation attorneys loosened the shackles of compulsory unionism in the Hoosier state, winning a courtroom victory that halted the vindictive lawsuit of teacher union officials against hundreds of school teachers who chose not to join the union.

Persuaded by the arguments of Foundation attorneys, the Court of Appeals of Indiana handed down Adams v. Indianapolis Education Association, which prohibits the Indianapolis Teacher Association (ISTA) from collecting forced fees from approximately 400 schoolteachers for the 1993-1994 school year. This victory is worth at least $165,000 -- and potentially another $175,000 for the 1994-1995 school year -- that Indianaís union czars will never see.

Greed drives Big Laborís agenda

The union bossesí embarrassing defeat is the result of their own insatiable greed. ISTA officials attempted to force the teachers who did not want to join the union to pay the same dues as union members by writing the obligation into the collective bargaining agreement. Teachers who did not want to fund Big Laborís political machine were only allowed to receive a refund of their compulsory dues if they went through internal union procedures. Since these procedures were completely under union control, teachers demanding a refund were at the mercy of union bureaucrats.

Realizing that this union scheme was a direct violation of their constitutional and Foundation-won rights, scores of courageous teachers refused to pay any dues.

True to form, the union despots immediately attacked those who dared to stand in the way of their political ambitions, and sued the teachers in state court for trying to keep their own hard-earned wages. Foundation attorneys reacted quickly and moved to defend the persecuted school teachers. However, in a scofflaw decision, a Marion County judge (who has accepted significant campaign contributions from union sources) granted summary judgment in favor of the teacher union bosses.

Union-influenced judge gets overturned

Undeterred, Foundation attorneys immediately appealed. The Court of Appeals of Indiana embraced their powerful arguments and reversed the trial courtís decision. The unionís rebate scheme was struck down, with the Court accurately noting that "collection of full membership dues with a later refund creates the risk that those funds will be used for purposes other than collective bargaining and results in a loan to the [teacher labor union] to which it is not entitled."

The Court then went further, declaring that the contract itself was unconstitutional and unenforceable. Since the contract was the union bossesí only source of authority to collect forced dues, the teachers are free from paying for the unionís unwanted, forced representation.

"I hope the ruling serves as a wake-up call to Indiana union bosses about what happens when they trample on employee rights," said Rex Reed, Executive Vice President of the Foundation.

Victory bans some deceptive union contracts

The Foundation-won Adams decision is also important because it expands the Ford v. Madison Grant Teachers Association precedent. The Ford case holds that the collective bargaining agreement itself must conform to the requirements of the U.S. Supreme Courtís landmark ruling in Chicago Teachers Union v. Hudson and spell out the rights of nonmembers. This is critical, as union officials often word contracts to mislead employees about their constitutional rights.

"For too long, union bosses have used deceptive contracts to confuse workers about their legal rights. Thanks to the generous help of our loyal supporters, the Foundation is cutting through these union smokescreens," declared Reed.


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