Freedom Foundation

Union Attacks Non-Member, Freedom Foundation Sues

Lyssa Williams is a rail operator for the Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District (TriMet), public transportation system in Portland, Ore. When she decided to exercise her right to opt out of membership in the Amalgamated Transit Union 757 (as is her right under the First Amendment and Oregon labor law), the union made sure she suffered for it.

An ATU 757 representative demanded to know why she had resigned union membership and subsequently called her a “freeloader.” Worse, the representative kept essential job information from Ms. Williams and assigned her the “leftover” shift and vacation times in retribution.

ATU’s representative made no secret of his motivation, telling other employees, “(Williams) decided to be a non-member … (S)hould she decide to do the right thing and rejoin, my tone would change.”

On Tuesday, Freedom Foundation attorneys filed an unfair labor practices complaint against ATU 757 on Ms. William’s behalf.

“Unions and their representatives must be held accountable for attempts to coerce employees to become union members,” said Rebekah Millard, Freedom Foundation attorney representing Williams. “Public employees who exercise their First Amendment right to end their union membership should not be punished for doing so — especially not by an organization that is legally obligated to protect the employees’ interests.”