In October 2018, Caroline Kelly, an employee of the University of California San Diego, printed an opt-out letter from the Freedom Foundation’s website and sent it to her union, UPTE-CWA 9119.
A few weeks later, a union representative, Mike Parry, gave her a resignation form and instructed her to send it to UPTE-CWA 9119 headquarters.
Kelly did so, believing she resolved the simple matter.
Several months passed, and to her dismay, the dues kept disappearing from her paycheck. In early February, Kelly wrote again to Parry, who passed her off to Laurence Lin, who, initially, did not respond. After several weeks of sending unanswered emails, Lin informed Kelly that he would forward her request to the union’s “cancellation specialists.”
After another week of silence, Kelly again emailed Lin requesting contact information for the “cancellation specialists” so she could communicate with them directly. She was told to contact Amy Oleksijew.
She did and, In March, Ms. Oleksijew responded by asking for a copy of the opt-out request Kelly had sent in October.
For more than a month, and despite many emails, Kelly got the silent treatment from Oleksijew and the union. On April 26, Oleksijew called, but only to inform Ms. Kelly that she would speak to her manager about the issue.
From April to July, Kelly’s repeated requests for information were stonewalled.
Finally, on July 30, Oleksijew called and told Ms. Kelly she couldn’t cancel dues deductions because of a February resignation window — notwithstanding the fact Ms. Kelly had sent her request the previous October of 2018 and had been in contact with union officials throughout February, during the union’s arbitrarily imposed resignation window.
Oleksijew insisted Kelly couldn’t opt out for another four months — and only then if she submitted a fresh request.
After nearly a year of chasing geese, a frustrated Kelly reached out to the Freedom Foundation for help. A Freedom Foundation attorney informed the union that unless it immediately canceled Caroline Kelly’s membership, ceased deducting dues and refunded all dues deducted since her October letter, legal action would follow.
Within days, the Freedom Foundation received a letter from UPTE-CWA 9119 President Jamie McDole, who agreed to every one of its demands.
Clearly, the union knew all along Kelly’s request was entirely legitimate but dragged its feet hoping she’d simply give in. She didn’t, and when she enlisted the help of the Freedom Foundation, McDole and his henchmen knew the game was up.
Unions know their members can sometimes be intimidated, but bullying tactics never work with the Freedom Foundation.