It’s bad enough that unions across the nation create restrictive opt-out policies to lock their membership into paying dues as long as possible. But it’s even worse when the unions themselves don’t follow their own rules.
Charles Hill, a San Diego County employee, decided to exercise his First Amendment right to opt out of union membership and dues payments.
The contract, or memorandum of agreement (MOA), between San Diego County and SEIU Local 221 instructed employees to opt out of union membership and dues payments during the month of June by sending a letter to the county or to the union.
Hill did both on June 11, 2019, using the union’s own form.
SEIU Local 221 balked at Hill’s request and refused to stop taking dues from his paycheck. The county simply ignored his letter, even though the MOA clearly stated opt-out requests would be processed in June.
Hill promptly filed an unfair labor practice with the Public Employment Relations Board, pointing to the union’s utter disregard for the collective bargaining agreement. SEIU 221 initially tried to get Mr. Hill’s claims dismissed on a technicality, and it was then that he enlisted Freedom Foundation attorneys’ assistance.
Shortly after Freedom Foundation attorneys intervened, SEIU Local 221 proposed a settlement with Hill, offering to stop collecting dues and promising a refund of dues taken since June 1, 2019.
Unions like SEIU 221 are notorious for taking advantage of their members when no one is watching, but thankfully public employees have Freedom Foundation to stand up for their rights.