Self-employed childcare providers are forced to associate with SEIU just to take care of low income children whose care is subsidized by the state
Seattle, WA (December 3, 2018) – Today, a National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorney will deliver arguments for a Washington childcare provider in Mentele v. Inslee, a case challenging forced union representation for businesses providing childcare to low-income families. The case will be argued before the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in Seattle, Washington.
In the case, plaintiff Katherine Miller asks the court to strike down a state requirement that she accept Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 925 as her monopoly representative. She argues the requirement violates her First Amendment right to freedom of association, citing the First Amendment standard laid out by the U.S. Supreme Court in two National Right to Work Foundation-won decisions, Harris v. Quinn (2014) and Janus v. AFSCME decided in June.
Miller is jointly represented by staff attorneys from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and the Northwest-based Freedom Foundation. Right to Work Foundation staff attorney Milton Chappell will argue the case before a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit.
Washington state statute provides childcare subsidies to about 7,000 low-income families in Washington. Childcare providers, including self-employed individuals and small business owners, are classified as “public employees” to force them under the SEIU’s monopoly representation. Originally, childcare providers were forced to fund union activity. The Harris decision struck down the forced fee requirement, but now Miller – who provides childcare for low-wage families that qualify for subsidies – is asking the court to strike down forced representation as well.
Foundation staff attorneys have brought lawsuits for individuals in other states subject to similar forced unionism schemes, including the Bierman v. Dayton case filed for a group of Minnesota homecare providers also forced under SEIU monopoly representation. Following a Court of Appeals ruling earlier this year, a petition for the U.S. Supreme Court to review Bierman is expected to be filed by a December 17 deadline.
“This case and others show what lengths union bosses will go to impose their forced unionism onto workers, even going so far as to classify thousands of self-employed workers and small business owners as ‘government employees,’ subject to their representation,” said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation who is in Seattle for the arguments. “Although forced dues represent the most visible injustice of compulsory unionism, the root of Big Labor’s coercive powers has always been union officials’ ability to force individuals under the union monopoly against their will. It’s long past time that courts apply the First Amendment to these forced representation schemes and strike them down to protect the freedom of association.”
Immediately after the Mentele case is argued, the court will hear arguments in Fisk v. Inslee, another case jointly litigated by National Right to Work Foundation and Freedom Foundation attorneys. That case seeks to stop SEIU officials from continuing to collect union dues from Washington providers without their consent, and argues that such dues seizures violate the Supreme Court’s recent Janus ruling prohibiting mandatory union payments.
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.