Olympia, WA (March 5, 2015) – Today, a group of family child care providers filed a federal class-action lawsuit challenging a 2006 law that authorizes the forcible unionization of Washington State’s 12,000 home-based child care providers.
With free legal aid from National Right to Work Foundation attorneys in conjunction with the Freedom Foundation, Cindy Mentele and three other providers from around the state filed the suit against Governor Jay Inslee and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 925. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.
The child care providers’ lawsuit challenges the forced-unionism scheme on the grounds that it violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of free political expression and association. National Right to Work Foundation attorneys argue that such schemes violate providers’ First Amendment right to choose with whom they associate to petition the government because the government does not have the constitutional authority to force citizens to accept its handpicked political representative to lobby itself.
The child care providers seek repayment of union fees illegally taken from them by the Governor, and given to SEIU Local 925, over the past three years.
Home-based child care and personal care providers, with Right to Work Foundation attorneys’ assistance, have challenged similar forced-unionization-by-government-fiat schemes in several states across the country, including Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, and New York. On June 30, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling in Harris v. Quinn striking down the Illinois scheme, ruling that individuals who receive state subsidies based on their clientele cannot be forced to pay compulsory union fees. The Court did not rule on whether providers can be forced to accept the union’s so-called representation under a monopoly bargaining scheme. The next day, the Court cleared the path for 50,000 home child care providers in Michigan to receive a refund of union dues illegally taken during Michigan’s now-defunct unionization scheme.
“Citizens have the power to select their political representation in government, not the other way around,” said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “This scheme, which forces small business owners, and even grandma taking care of her grandchildren, into SEIU union political association is a slap in the face of fundamental American principles we hold dear.”
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.