Bridgeport, CT (August 1, 2011) – With the help of National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, a local police officer has reached a settlement with two unions and the City of Bridgeport after filing suit to reclaim illegally-confiscated union dues.
The agreement requires the Bridgeport Police Local 1159 and Council 15 AFSCME, AFL-CIO unions to refund all illegally-seized dues to William Bailey, a nonunion police officer.
Although Bailey is not a union member, all Bridgeport police officers are subject to a monopoly bargaining agreement between the city and the Bridgeport Police Local 1159 and Council 15 AFSCME, AFL-CIO unions. After resigning his union membership in 2007, Bailey indicated that he wished to opt-out of dues unrelated to workplace bargaining in 2011.
Because Connecticut has not passed a Right to Work law, state employees can be forced to pay some union dues as a condition of employment. However, the Foundation-won Supreme Court decision Teachers Local 1 v. Hudson holds that public employees must be notified how much of their dues are spent on union activities unrelated to collective bargaining – such as members-only events and political activism – and given the opportunity to opt out of paying for those activities.
Despite this precedent, the City of Bridgeport seized, and union operatives collected, the equivalent of full union dues from Bailey’s paycheck since January 2011.
“We’re happy to report that William Bailey will reclaim some of his earnings, but litigation is no substitute for a law that protects workers’ rights,” said Patrick Semmens, legal information director for the National Right to Work Foundation. “Until Connecticut makes union membership and dues payment completely voluntary by passing a Right to Work law, similar abuse will continue elsewhere, unchecked.”
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 about 200 cases nationwide per year.