Freedom Foundation

Thirteen workers freed from forced dues payments

Thanks to the Freedom Foundation, four more workers were freed from their union’s tight grasp last week, bringing the total to 13 since June.

UDW (AFSCME 3930), a California union representing In-Home Supportive Service (IHSS) providers, charges its members $30, $50 or, in some cases, over $100 in dues each month. Caregivers often quit their jobs to care for loved ones and cannot afford such large dues payments.

Many of the caregivers did not knowingly consent to union membership but signed the membership application in a stack of papers at their IHSS orientation. When they attempt to cancel their union membership, they are instructed to wait until “not less than ten (10) days and not more than twenty (20) days before the end of the anniversary date on the membership card you signed.”

This language means that UDW members must mark their calendars for a 10-day period up to a year later and re-send their signed letter certified mail during that period. That is, if the IHSS provider is able to decipher the language to understand UDW’s process.

For most UDW objectors, their opt-out periods come and go, the years pass and the dues continue to flow. These caregivers feel trapped and helpless. Freedom Foundation’s legal team started reaching out to these caregivers and sent letters on their behalf to UDW, demanding that this devious practice stop. In June, UDW and SEIU 2015 agreed to immediately stop deducting dues from nine caregivers after receiving letters from a Freedom Foundation attorney.

Last week, UDW responded to four additional letters from a Freedom Foundation attorney and agreed to release the caregivers from their unwanted membership.

These caregivers are now free to use their hard-earned wages how they choose, according to the Supreme Court’s 2014 decision, Harris v. Quinn.

California just got a nice dose of freedom.