Freedom Foundation

California Dreamin’: Successful First Year Restoring Freedoms to Golden State Workers

The Freedom Foundation’s California litigation team is off and running like a well-oiled machine. In just under a year, the organization’s attorneys have filed seven federal lawsuits while freeing untold thousands of individual employees from forced union dues and fees.

The Freedom Foundation in California has established itself as a formidable threat to the government union cash cows, and the union bosses are not happy.

The litigation team kicked off by filing a class-action lawsuit against the California Teacher’s Association (CTA) and the National Education Association (NEA) on behalf of seven plaintiffs. CTA is one of many unions that require public employees to pay dues for an entire year even if they resign union membership, a policy that violates the spirit of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2018 Janus ruling in which mandatory dues and fees were abolished.

The lawsuit garnered widespread media coverage and was one of numerous lawsuits to challenge the union’s irrevocable dues deduction schemes.

Some unions, such as Teamsters and SEIU, require public employees to pay dues for the entire duration of the collective bargaining agreement regardless of union membership. The Freedom Foundation challenged Teamsters 2010’s dues deduction scheme on behalf of two CSUSB employees, a case currently on appeal at the 9th Circuit.

In another case against SEIU 721, the Freedom Foundation negotiated a settlement on behalf of two county employees who suffered under a similar scheme.

This past summer, the Freedom Foundation continued its constitutional quest by defending In-Home Supportive Service (IHHS) providers from unlawful dues deductions. Despite the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) declaring the practice unlawful, the union continued to divert Medicaid payments—taking money from the providers against their wishes and in violation of federal law. One union even went so far as to forge a signature on a provider’s membership card.

The Freedom Foundation answered back by challenging the west coast states that sought to continue the unlawful practice of diverting funds to unions. A judge in the Northern District of California will decide in February 2020 whether the deductions are unlawful under federal law.

The Freedom Foundation also filed a lawsuit on behalf of the provider with the forged signature and filed a separate class-action lawsuit against the same union on behalf of providers throughout California. The pending class-action suit has the potential to invalidate every current union membership throughout California.

To close out the year, the Freedom Foundation filed a lawsuit on behalf of seven University of California employees against AFSCME 3299. Some employees were attempting to leave the union for more than a year before the Foundation intervened. The union’s deduction scheme requires a cumbersome revocation process specifically designed with unreasonable complexity to make resignation practically impossible. The Foundation now seeks to invalidate the union’s unconstitutional deduction scheme and vindicate the employees’ 1st and 14th Amendment rights.

The Freedom Foundation made tremendous progress in 2019. And here’s the best news of all: the team is just getting started.