LOS ANGELES, Calif. (January 29, 2004) — More than 100,000 Los Angeles County home care providers received formal notice this week of the proposed settlement of a civil rights lawsuit that will require union officials to rebate an estimated $5-10 million in illegally seized compulsory union dues. The rebates are the result of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 434B officials illegally forcing home care providers to pay for politics and other activities unrelated to collective bargaining, as well as seizing fees in excess of the negotiated amount. With free legal aid from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation attorneys, the workers began the settlement process in December 2002. The settlement was originally thought to involve only 60,000 rather than 100,000 individuals. The rebates, originally estimated at $5 million, are now expected to be as much as $10 million. “This settlement is an incremental yet important step towards holding union officials in California accountable for how they collect and spend compulsory union dues,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “However, the ultimate solution to this sort of abuse is to end union officials’ government-granted privileges to force employees to pay union dues or be fired from their jobs.” In December 2001, Carla West and three other home care providers filed the suit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against SEIU Local 434B, the Personal Assistance Services Council (PASC) of Los Angeles County, California Attorney General Bill Lockyer, and others. The Court will hold a hearing on April 5, 2004, to determine if the settlement is reasonable and fair. If the settlement is approved, the rebate checks should be mailed in July. In settling valid constitutional claims, SEIU officials agreed to return forced union dues illegally seized from workers who were not formal union members. During the period for which rebates are being paid, SEIU union officials failed to follow the Foundation-won Supreme Court decision in Chicago Teachers v. Hudson, which requires unions to provide objecting employees an audited disclosure and advance reduction of forced union dues used for politics and other non-bargaining activities. After months of stonewalling, the SEIU produced an audit showing that a mere 48 percent of union dues are spent for collective bargaining. Objecting nonmember home care providers now pay less than half of what full union members pay in dues. In 1999, Local 434B officials gained recognition by PASC as the exclusive bargaining agents of home care workers who provide non-medical in-home support services to disabled low-income clients. Although they are reimbursed through the state, the workers are independently hired, fired, and supervised by individual recipients of home care. The constitutionally suspect agreement brokered between union operatives and government bureaucrats declares that home care providers are “public employees” for collective bargaining purposes only, even though the PASC “employer” has no authority over hiring, firing, work schedules, workplace safety, disputes with the employer-recipient, and the amount the state pays the workers.