Honolulu, Hawaii (September 3, 2002) — With the help of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, an instructor at Maui Community College filed suit against the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly (UHPA) teacher union for illegally forcing her to pay full union dues, including dues spent for politics.
“In an effort to amass a political warchest, the union’s officials are demanding that teachers shut up and pay up,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation.
Since August 2000, the UHPA and its national affiliate, the National Education Association (NEA), have demanded that all non-members pay an agency fee equal to the cost of full union dues. The union never provided the constitutionally required independent audit to prove that employees are not subsidizing non-collective bargaining activities or other procedural safeguards.
To vindicate professors’ civil rights, instructor Sandra Swanson contacted the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation for free legal aid.
Under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, as articulated in the Foundation-won Supreme Court decision in Chicago Teachers Union v. Hudson, union officials must provide independently audited disclosure of their books and justify expenditures made from forced union dues seized from teachers who have chosen to refrain from union membership.
According to the constitutional protections construed by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Foundation-won decisions of Abood v. Detroit Board of Education and Lehnert v. Ferris Faculty Association, the union may only collect compulsory dues that are proven to be spent on collective bargaining activity. Politics, lobbying, organizing, public relations, and other non-bargaining activities are explicitly non-chargeable to employees who have exercised their right to refrain from union membership.
The NEA is one of the most politically active unions in the country. Every year, union officials seize millions of dollars in compulsory dues to support candidates and causes that many of their members find objectionable. Polls have consistently shown that a majority of rank-and-file union members object to having their dues spent for political activities.
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.