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Anti-Union Groups Try to Force Oregon Unions to Give Up Dues

December 2, 2018

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

PORTLAND, Ore.—Two anti-union groups filed a lawsuit in federal court here Nov. 20, trying to force public-employee unions to let workers who quit them stop paying dues immediately. The Freedom Foundation, based in Washington state, and National Right to Work Foundation are trying to win approval for a class-action suit against AFSCME Local 75 and the Service Employees International Union 503, Oregon’s main public-sector unions, and several state agencies. The two groups are representing 10 government employees who quit their unions after the Supreme Court’s Janus v. AFSCME decision last June held that it was unconstitutional for nonmembers to have to pay fees to the unions representing them. They argue that a union membership agreement—which says members can withdraw and stop paying dues only during a designated period each year—doesn’t qualify as “affirmative consent” under Janus. The Freedom Foundation has filed a similar suit in Washington state, and the National Right to Work Foundation in Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey, and California. “Part of the Freedom Foundation’s strategy is to file frivolous lawsuits to waste union’s time defending themselves in court,” Peter Starzynski of the union-backed Northwest Accountability Project told Oregon Public Broadcasting. Read more

December 2, 2018

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