AFSCME Local in California Forges Worker’s Signature, Wins Court Dismissal

It is now settled law that public employees cannot be forced to pay dues to a union as a condition of employment. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 3930 and the State of California don’t seem convinced. Neither does a federal judge. On June 15, a U.S. District Court for the Central District of California rebuked an Orange County home care provider, Maria Quezambra, in her quest to recoup dues collected by the union via the State of California over six years despite clear evidence that someone at the union had forged her signature to establish membership. A week later, she filed an appeal. The larger issue, in light of the Supreme Court’s 2018 ruling in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31, is the corrupt practice of government agencies allying themselves with the very unions with whom they bargain.     

The U.S. Supreme Court’s Janus decision was … Read More ➡

Janus, Two Years On: More Necessary Than Ever

This June 27 marked the second anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31, a pivotal event in labor relations whose potential long-run impact is only beginning to be felt. The High Court’s upholding by a 5-4 margin of the constitutional right of Mark Janus (in photo), an Illinois state civil servant, to withhold dues from an affiliate of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees has enabled numerous nonmembers across a wide range of public-sector jobs to decline to pay without worrying about losing their jobs. In response, unions and their political allies are going to great lengths to circumvent the ruling. They know what is at stake. Their actions unintentionally underscore why the Court made the right call. And Mark Janus isn’t quite done yet.  

Government employee unions, especially at the state and local levels, have become a dominant force … Read More ➡

Dissenting Employees in Seattle Sue SEIU Locals for Beck Violations

For more than three decades, union leaders have done everything possible, legal or not, to skirt the Supreme Court’s Beck decision. Some very recent evidence comes from the Seattle area. Last Wednesday, June 17, Daniel Dalison, an employee of a building maintenance contractor, filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board against a Service Employees International Union (SEIU) local for misleading him about his right to withhold dues for functions unrelated to union business. Two months earlier, Dalison, at the time an employee at an area hospital, along with a fellow hospital employee, Roger White, had filed separate NLRB complaints against another Seattle-area SEIU local on similar grounds. Under Beck, a private-sector union must inform employees of this “opt-out” right. The dissenters appear to have a strong case, too.

Under the National Labor Relations Act of 1935, a labor union has the right of exclusive representation. That is, … Read More ➡

Supreme Court Considers Second Mark Janus Suit to Recover Dues

Mark Janus is seeking to complete his mission. And the U.S. Supreme Court soon will let him and other dissenting public-sector union members know where they stand. Two weeks from now, on June 18, the High Court will decide whether to grant legal standing to a petition by Janus, a former Illinois state employee, to recover dues payments dating back several years collected by an affiliate of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). Two years earlier the Court concluded that a government employee union cannot deduct partial dues (“agency fees”) from a nonmember paycheck without the affirmative consent of the employee. A grant of certiorari could open the door to similar nonmember actions, including a class action suit in Minnesota seeking a $19 million refund on behalf of about 8,000 employees.  

Until the Supreme Court’s 2018 decision in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31, state and … Read More ➡

Two Minnesota Workers Win $30K Settlement from Teamster-Represented Employer

Unions long have bitterly opposed the Right to Work principle. But some, in their desire to generate dues, may deceive workers into joining. International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 120 did – and so far hasn’t succeeded. On March 25, two Minnesota building materials employees announced a back pay settlement of more than $30,000 with a former employer for illegally firing them at the strong behest of Local 120. The workers, James Connolly and Charles Winter, had charged last spring that the company and the union falsely told them, several times, that union membership was a condition of employment. The case underscores organized labor’s reluctance to accept the Supreme Court’s Beck decision of over 30 years ago. A complaint filed by Connolly and Winter with the National Labor Relations Board remains active.

The saga began on April 9, 2019, when James Connolly, a recent hire at OMG Midwest’s Belle Plaine, Minnesota … Read More ➡

House Passes PRO Act, a Blueprint for Union Workplace Monopoly

It’s been a dream of organized labor for decades. Yesterday the House of Representatives took a big step toward its realization. By a nearly party-line 224-194 vote, the House approved the misnamed Protecting the Right to Organize or PRO Act (H.R. 2474), which would strip employers and non-joining employees of their capacity to resist union aggression. Introduced last May by Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and passed by the Education and Labor Committee in September, the measure, under the premise of “restoring” lost rights, among other things, would override state Right to Work laws, ban arbitration agreements, and force employers to recognize a union if a majority of workers sign membership pledge cards. Supporters are ecstatic for now, but they may have to wait a while for Senate action.

The PRO Act, at bottom, is a union power grab. Indeed, it is a power grab so … Read More ➡

The PRO Act Gives Unions Everything They Could Want

If there is a worse piece of legislation in the history of American labor relations than the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, one would be hard-pressed to find it. This gift to organized labor, introduced in May by Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., would dismantle virtually every existing safeguard against union monopoly in the private-sector workplace. Among its features, the measure would override state Right to Work laws protecting employees from being fired for withholding union dues; create an expansive “joint employer” standard to force employers to bargain alongside their contractors; and ban employment arbitration agreements. The House Education and Labor Committee approved the measure on September 25 in a party-line 26-21 vote, setting up a brutal battle in 2020 in the full House and likely the Senate.

Labor unions in this country regularly proclaim their solidarity with “working families,” also known as “working … Read More ➡

NLRB General Counsel Rules on Behalf of Harassed Workers

Pressuring employees into giving a union permission to deduct dues from paychecks is a common practice. This “dues checkoff,” however, soon may become uncommon. On July 12, the National Labor Relations Board’s Office of the General Counsel, in separate cases, announced that it had ruled on behalf of two workers who refused to sign dues authorization forms as a condition of employment. The employees, Kacy Warner, a Kansas City-area nurse, and Shelby Krocker, a West Virginia supermarket employee, each experienced union retaliation. Their cases previously had been dismissed by an NLRB regional office. The West Virginia case is especially disturbing because the legislature in that state a few years ago enacted a Right to Work law barring unions from exacting such payments.

Kacy Warner is a nurse at Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri who was dissatisfied with the representation that she and fellow employees had been getting from … Read More ➡

Michigan Lawmaker Charged with Seeking Bribe from Carpenters Officials

Larry Inman’s vote apparently was for sale. But what does that say about who was paying? On May 15, Inman, a three-term Republican in the Michigan House of Representatives, was indicted in Grand Rapids federal court for attempted extortion, solicitation of a bribe, and lying to the FBI related to his seeking cash payments from a Carpenters union affiliate in exchange for a favorable vote on a prevailing wage bill. He is declaring his innocence, but has an uphill climb. House Speaker Lee Chatfield, also a Republican, wants him to resign. And Mike Jackson, executive secretary for the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights, is glad Inman “is being brought to justice.” Yet the details are far from completely known. Inman pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on May 28. And the union may have ulterior motives.

Organized labor long has supported the federal Davis-Bacon Act of 1931 and … Read More ➡

Washington State SEIU Affiliate Settles Suit Over Forged Signature

Service Employees International Union Local 775, it seems, would do anything for a buck, including collecting dues from a former member. It’s now learned its limitations. On March 29, the Seattle-based union reached an out-of-court agreement with a Spokane home caregiver, Cindy Ochoa, following its admission that one of its canvassers had forged her signature on a membership card. Ochoa, with the help of a nonprofit legal group, the Freedom Foundation, had filed a lawsuit in federal court in October alleging the union had violated her First Amendment rights, unlawfully withheld part of her wages, and caused emotional distress. Local 775 agreed to pay $15,000 in damages to her and $13,000 to the foundation to cover legal fees, plus send her a written apology.

SEIU Local 775 represents more than 45,000 long-term health care providers in Washington State and Montana, many of them operating out of their homes on behalf … Read More ➡