UC Irvine lab assistant Amber Walker has won a settlement forcing University Professional and Technical Employees (UPTE) union officials at her workplace to stop illegally taking union dues money from her paycheck, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation reports.
Walker and the National Right to Work Foundation attorneys filed a civil rights lawsuit against UPTE officials, asserting they violated her First Amendment right to abstain from financially supporting an unwanted union.
By the time UPTE officials had informed Walker that her request to cut off dues was rejected for lack of photo ID, the “window period” enforced by union officials had already elapsed, NRTW explained. Had Walker not filed a lawsuit with NRTW Foundation legal aid, UPTE officials likely would have continued siphoning money from her paycheck for another year until the arrival of the next “window period.”
Walker’s lawsuit enforced her rights under the 2018 Foundation-won Janus v. AFSCME Supreme Court decision, and challenged both the university’s seizure of dues from her paycheck at the union’s behest, and a union-created policy requiring employees to provide photo ID just to stop dues payments.
In the 2018 Janus v. AFSCME case, the U.S. Supreme Court held that public workers have a First Amendment right to refuse to subsidize the political speech of unions like UPTE, unless they have affirmatively consented to waive their rights.
The justices also ruled that union dues can only be taken from a public employee with an affirmative and knowing waiver of that employee’s First Amendment right not to pay, the NRTW explains.
Once again, rather than face NRTW Foundation attorneys in court, UPTE bosses backed down and chose to settle the lawsuit. “The settlement requires UPTE officials to immediately stop taking money from Walker’s paycheck and to refund any deductions they took after her initial attempt to exercise her Janus rights. They must also desist from enforcing the photo ID requirement,” NRTW said.
The Globe has reported on several NRTW lawsuits against labor union officials at other workplaces in California which settled, rather than being ordered by a court, to stop illegally taking union dues money from employees’ paychecks.
You can read more about the important settlement at the National Right to Work Foundation.