Freedom Foundation

CSLEA Tries to Duck Lifeguard Lawsuit, but the Charges Keep Multiplying

In April, a judge in the Southern District of California denied a motion by the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) to dismiss a lawsuit brought against it by the Freedom Foundation on behalf of 22 lifeguards unhappy with the representation provided by the union.

Now the scope of the case has expanded.

Last month, in fact, Freedom Foundation attorneys added two more claims to the case — Savas et al v. CSLEA — which asserts the lifeguard were forced to pay dues until June 2023 pursuant to an unconstitutional maintenance of membership provision in the union’s collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with California Department of Parks & Recreation.

Freedom Foundation attorneys argue that Janus V. AFSCME, the landmark 2018 Supreme Court case that recognized the right of public employees to opt out of their union, clearly should trump the language of an old bargaining agreement.

But wait, there’s more.

The first new claim alleges that CSLEA intentionally concealed by deceptive subterfuge when and how the lifeguards could resign union membership.

The second claim centers around the fact that the lifeguards’ membership applications are void due to a startling string of facts. In fact, they were not given a meaningful choice in membership, as membership authorization cards were signed before Janus. V. AFSCME.

In other words, the lifeguards were required to sign a membership card to keep their job. Without doing so prior to June 28, 2018, the lifeguards would have either been fired or forced to pay a punitive fine.

The union continues to enforce this clear constitutional violation.

But it only gets worse. After deceptively conscripting their membership, the union took away their voting rights. That means the lifeguards have to pay for union membership for almost four years since their attempted resignation but do not even receive basic union benefits like the right to vote.

Does that sound fair to you?

We think that CSLEA should explain to its union members why it would employ such shady tactics; however, accountability is the last thing the union wants.

On May 29, CSLEA filed a motion to dismiss the case in another attempt to avoid having to answer for its egregious constitutional and statutory violations.

Unfortunately for CSLEA, the Freedom Foundation doesn’t roll over, and we intend to hold their feet to the fire.

If they won’t do what’s right for their members, we’re more than happy to assist them.