Lancaster, PA (August 3, 2011) – Eight public employees have filed a second federal lawsuit against a local union and the Borough of Ephrata for illegally confiscating union dues payments from their paychecks in unconstitutional amounts and without following federal requirements.
National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys, who previously provided the employees with free legal aid in their first lawsuit, filed the suit yesterday in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, located in Philadelphia.
The borough employees, who have exercised their right to refrain from formal union membership with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1600 union, previously asked the court to protect their National Right to Work Foundation-won rights upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education and other cases.
In Abood, the High Court ruled that although nonmember public employees can be forced to pay some union dues, they cannot be forced to pay for union politics and other union activities unrelated to bargaining. IBEW Local 1600 union officials were compelling the employees to paying a whopping 99.51 percent of full union membership dues before the lawsuit was settled.
The employees are also asking the court to protect their National Right to Work Foundation-won rights upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in Chicago Teachers Union v. Hudson, which requires union officials to comply with specific due-process and disclosure requirements (such as an independently-audited financial breakdown of all forced dues union expenditures) before seizing forced dues from nonmembers. IBEW Local 1600 union officials are taking 90.68 percent of full union dues, which the charge states, includes amounts not constitutionally chargeable under the Abood line of cases.
The employees are again suing to obtain refunds of the amount of forced union dues payments illegally taken from their paychecks, plus interest.
“IBEW union bosses are deliberately keeping rank-and-file workers in the dark to keep their forced-dues gravy train going,” said Patrick Semmens, National Right to Work Foundation Legal Information Director. “Pennsylvania should adopt a Right to Work law so independent-minded employees do not have to jump through legal hoop after legal hoop just to find out what they are being charged for.”
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 more than 250 cases nationwide per year.