Cincinnati, OH (January 21, 2011) – A group of Cincinnati Public Schools employees today filed a federal lawsuit against a local union and the city school district for illegally confiscating union dues from their paychecks in violation of their constitutional rights.
National Right to Work Foundation attorneys, providing the employees with free legal aid, filed the suit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.
The school district carpentry shop employees, who have exercised their right to refrain from formal union membership with the Greater Cincinnati Building & Construction Trades Council union (GCBCTC) and its affiliates, ask the federal court to protect their Right to Work Foundation-won rights upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in Chicago Teachers Union v. Hudson.
In Hudson, the Court, while still allowing the forced payment of certain union fees as a condition of employment, established procedural safeguards to ensure public employees are not compelled to subsidize union activities beyond what union officials can prove is spent on bargaining and contract administration. Union expenditures such as organizing and political activism cannot be legally charged to nonmember public-sector workers.
The Court also ruled union officials must provide public workers with an independently-audited financial breakdown of all forced-dues union expenditures.
GCBCTC union officials are compelling the employees to pay union fees to keep their jobs while refusing to provide the financial breakdown Hudson requires.
The employees are suing to obtain refunds of the amount of forced union dues payments illegally taken from their paychecks and to halt union bosses from further union fee collections until they comply with the workers’ constitutional and civil rights to refrain from full-union-dues payments upheld by the United States Supreme Court.
“GCBCTC union bosses are using state law to take these workers’ civil and constitutional rights to the woodshed” said Patrick Semmens, National Right to Work Foundation legal information director. “Ohio desperately needs a Right to Work law making union affiliation and dues payments completely voluntary to prevent these types of forced unionism abuses from occurring.”
“Only then will independent-minded employees have the solid foundation they need to take a stand for their rights.”
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.