For the third time, the Freedom Foundation has obtained a successful outcome for a Medicaid-compensated homecare provider whose signature was forged on a membership agreement so her union could continue deducting dues from her modest pay against her wishes.
The Foundation has obtained a judgment including attorneys’ fees and costs totaling $17,180, on behalf of Maria Gatdula. The Freedom Foundation is still litigating 10 or so similar cases in Washington, Oregon and California.
Maria Gatdula has been a home-based caregiver in Washington — and an unwilling member of SEIU 775 — since 2014. She attempted to opt out in 2019 following the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2018 ruling in Janus v. AFSCME affirming that mandatory union membership and dues for a public employee are a violation of the First Amendment.
SEIU 775, however, refused to honor her request, claiming she had signed an electronic membership agreement in October 2019 that required her to pay dues — and union-directed political contributions — until 2020. The Union further claimed that she had verbally authorized a card in 2014 in violation of Washington State law.
Knowing she had never signed or authorized such a document, Gatdula demanded to see the dues authorization agreement and, sure enough, it was a forgery.
That’s when she contacted the Freedom Foundation.
In its complaint, the organization alleged that Gatdula never signed a union membership card but was required to pay dues due to deceptive tactics by SEIU 775. These tactics included obtaining verbal “consent” to pay union dues by burying dues commitment language in legalese and deliberately minimizing the purpose of the call during a time when written consent was necessary for dues deductions.
Since Janus, unions have resorted to every possible tactic — including forgery — to retain union membership and dues deductions. Under terms of the settlement, SEIU 775 admitted no wrongdoing, but the sheer number of forgery cases being litigated make the truth appallingly clear.
These aren’t isolated incidents. They’re part of an orchestrated effort to deny union members the freedoms guaranteed them under the U.S. Constitution and affirmed under Janus.
Like any dog, the unions are at their most dangerous when cornered. Unhappily for them, the Freedom Foundation has become the biggest dog on the block.