Union officials violate hundreds of public workers’ constitutional rights under the Supreme Court’s Janus decision by deducting unauthorized forced dues
Los Angeles, CA (January 15, 2019) – With free legal aid from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, a math professor from Ventura Country, California, is challenging an illegal “window period” scheme to forcibly seize union membership dues from his paycheck without his consent and in violation of his constitutional rights.
Plaintiff Michael McCain filed a class action lawsuit on Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against the American Federation of Teachers (AFT); Ventura County Federation of College Teachers, AFT Local 1828, AFL-CIO; and Ventura County Community College School District.
A public employee who works for the Ventura County Community College School District, plaintiff Michael McCain attempted to exercise his First Amendment rights by resigning his union membership following the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in Janus v. AFSCME, a case Foundation attorneys argued and won.
The High Court ruled on June 27, 2018, that union bosses may not forcibly seize dues from public sector workers. Instead, government employees must knowingly waive their First Amendment right not to subsidize a union and affirmatively authorize deductions before union officials can collect membership dues or fees.
However, AFT union officials never informed McCain of his First Amendment rights, making it impossible for him to have waived them. Union officials continue seizing membership dues from McCain’s hard-earned wages, even after McCain resigned his union membership and made it clear in a letter sent to the union just weeks after the Janus decision that he does not consent to dues deductions. Union officials claim that McCain can only cut off dues deductions during a union-created 15-day “window period” each year.
McCain’s class action lawsuit asks the court to strike down this unlawful “window period” scheme and order union officials to stop deducting unauthorized dues. His complaint also seeks a refund of membership dues that were wrongfully taken from him and hundreds, if not thousands, of other public employees.
“Union officials have a long history of manipulating ‘window period’ schemes, arbitrary union-enacted limitations trapping workers into forced dues, and other obstacles designed to block individuals from exercising their constitutional rights,” said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Despite what union bosses say, First Amendments rights cannot be limited to just 15 days out of the year.”
“The Supreme Court affirmed the rights of public workers in the Foundation’s victory in Janus, but Michael’s case shows union bosses are determined to defy the High Court and continue their abusive practices,” Mix added.
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.