Hartford, CT (March 30, 2015) – With free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation, four Connecticut state troopers have filed a federal lawsuit against the Connecticut State Police Union (CSPU) and the state for violating their rights and refusing to follow federal disclosure requirements.
State trooper Marc Lamberty resigned from formal union membership in the CSPU and invoked his right to refrain from paying full union dues in June 2011. Troopers Joseph Mercer, Carson Konow, and Collin Konow did so in November 2014.
The U.S. Supreme Court has long held that workers have the unconditional right to refrain from union membership at any time. Even though the state troopers are not CSPU members, they must still accept union officials’ monopoly bargaining “representation,” and because Connecticut does not have a Right to Work law, union officials can compel the troopers into paying union fees as a condition of employment.
The Supreme Court ruled in the Foundation’s Chicago Teachers Union v. Hudson case that union officials must provide nonmember public employees with an independently-audited breakdown of all forced-dues union expenditures and the opportunity to object and challenge the amount of forced union fees before an impartial decision maker. These minimal safeguards are designed to ensure that workers have an opportunity to refrain from paying for union political activities and member-only events.
Despite these limited protections, the state continues to deduct, and union officials continue to receive, full union dues from the officers’ paychecks as if they are union members. Further, despite the officers’ requests that union officials acknowledge their rights and provide them with the financial breakdown of union expenditures, union officials refuse to comply with Hudson‘s requirements.
The troopers seek refunds of the amount of forced union dues payments illegally taken from their paychecks and to enjoin future collection of any dues or fees until union officials follow the law.
“Once again, union officials are keeping rank-and-file state troopers in the dark to keep their forced-dues gravy train going,” said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “To prevent these types of forced unionism abuses in the future, Connecticut needs to pass a Right to Work law making union affiliation and dues payments completely voluntary for all of its workers.”
Twenty-five states have Right to Work protections for employees. Public polling shows that nearly 80 percent of Americans and union members support the principle of voluntary unionism.
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.