As you may know, the United States Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether to end forced union dues and fees for all public sector workers in a case called Janus v. AFSCME. To learn more about Janus click here. A decision is expected by June 30, 2018. If you are currently being forced to pay unwanted dues or fees to a union as a condition of your public employment, this Legal Notice is for you.
In anticipation of a ruling in the Janus case that forced union payments are unconstitutional, some unions are now taking steps to prevent public employees from being able to stop the deduction of dues or fees after such a decision by the Court.
For instance, according to the Wall Street Journal, Education Minnesota, an affiliate of the National Education Association, is having teachers sign already-filled-out “membership renewal” cards which also authorizes their employer to deduct union dues or fees from their paychecks. The document includes the following fine print: “This authorization shall remain in effect and shall be automatically renewed from year to year, irrespective of my membership in the union, unless I revoke it by submitting written notice to both my employer and the local union during the seven-day period that begins on September 24 and ends on September 30.” This language may seem innocuous, but it is craftily designed to lock employees in to paying dues even if they wish to cease paying. The Wall Street Journal also notes: “If public-sector unions are putting this ‘renewal’ strategy in place in Minnesota, it’s likely that they’re making similar plans elsewhere.” To read the article click here.
If your public employer or union requires you to sign a new document which authorizes the deduction of any union dues or fees from your wages, read it carefully, cross out any language limiting your right to revoke the authorization at will, and then write “Signed Under Protest” next to your signature. If possible, make a copy of the document before giving it to the employer or union. Keep that copy with your important papers. If your public employer or union asks (but does not require) you to sign new paperwork, read it carefully and remember that you likely have the right to refrain from signing any such new documents. If you are unsure of the meaning of any new documents, get a copy of what you are being asked to sign and feel free to contact the National Right to Work Foundation for advice toll free at 1-800-336-3600, or via email to email@example.com or by clicking here.
If you believe that you have already signed a dues or fee deduction authorization form that may contain a restriction on your right to revoke it, request a copy of what you signed from your public employer and union and check to see if it has any limiting language. If it does have a limitation, before you take any action, you should contact a Foundation staff attorney toll free at 1-800-336-3600, or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by clicking here.
To take advantage of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling ending forced fees in the public sector, you would have to be a nonmember of the union. You have the right to resign from membership at any time. However, to stop union deductions immediately after a favorable decision in Janus, you should avoid signing any union deduction authorization that limits your right to revoke that authorization. Moreover, while waiting for the Supreme Court to rule in the Janus case, you have the right to resign your union membership and pay only the portion of union dues that is spent on bargaining-related activities. Even now, you can immediately stop supporting and paying for the union’s political and other nonbargaining activities. To learn how to do this, click here.
For nearly five decades, Foundation attorneys have worked in the courts and administrative tribunals to protect and expand the rights of individual employees from the abuses of compulsory unionism and forced fees. The National Right to Work Foundation is the nation’s premier organization exclusively dedicated to providing free legal assistance to employee victims of forced unionism abuse. The Foundation takes no position about how you should exercise your right to join or refrain from joining a union or whether to financially support or refrain from supporting a union. The Foundation simply wants all employees to be able to make these choices knowingly in an atmosphere free of restraint, threats, and coercion. The Foundation believes these choices should be the employee’s, not the public employer’s or the union’s. If you want to know more about the Foundation, click here.
If you want to learn more about your legal rights, go to the Foundation’s “Know Your Rights” page by clicking here , or contact a National Right to Work Foundation staff attorney toll free at 1-800-336-3600, or via email, or by clicking here.