National Right to Work Foundation letter says WMATA could face civil rights lawsuits if it doesn’t stop seizing union fees from workers who don’t consent
Washington, DC (October 30, 2018) – Today, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation sent a letter to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority warning WMATA against failing to comply with the legal protections for public workers under the U.S. Supreme Court’s June Janus v. AFSCME decision.
The Janus case was argued and won by National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys. In June the Supreme Court held that mandatory union fees violate the constitutional rights of public employees and ruled that it violates the First Amendment when any union fees are taken from public employees who have not given affirmative consent to such deductions.
However, Foundation staff attorneys have received reports that WMATA continues to deduct union dues or fees from the wages of employees who do not consent to those deductions. The Foundation letter urges WMATA General Manager and CEO Paul Wiedefeld to immediately stop deducting union fees from the wages of all such employees.
The letter notes that any deduction authorization signed prior to Janus does not constitute legal waiver of a workers’ constitutional right to not pay. If WMATA does not comply with the Supreme Court’s ruling, the letter explains that “Foundation staff attorneys will bring a civil rights action seeking class-wide injunctive relief, damages, and attorneys’ fees for any injured employees who request their assistance.”
Copies of the letter were also sent to Teamsters Local 639 and ATU Local 689, who may be receiving forced fees collected in violation of the rights of WMATA employees.
“Janus is a landmark victory for workers’ rights, ensuring that while workers can choose to join and financially support a union if they choose, they cannot be forced to fund a union against their will,” said National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “Unfortunately, Foundation staff attorneys have been contacted by WMATA employees about violations of their Janus rights, demonstrating that even a mile or two from the Supreme Court a long road remains ahead to ensure public employees’ rights are fully respected.”
“The good news is, workers will always have an ally in the National Right to Work Foundation if they choose to stand up against coercive forced union dues schemes,” continued Mix.
National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys are currently litigating more than fifteen cases seeking to enforce public employees’ rights under the Janus precedent.
The Foundation has also established MyJanusRights.org to inform government employees of their new rights. At the site, public employees can learn about their First Amendment rights and request free legal aid.
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.