The Freedom Foundation, on Jan. 7, held a press conference in Huntington Beach, Calif., to announce the filing of its latest lawsuit — this time on behalf of more than two dozen California lifeguards whose union is all too eager to play politics with their dues money but nowhere to be found when it comes to representing their workplace concerns.
“We’re fed up with not being heard and not being listened to, and now the law is finally on our side. We couldn’t be more stoked to have the Freedom Foundation to help us out.” – Scott Schneringer California State Lifeguard
This is the latest development in an ongoing effort, undertaken when local union leaders reached out to the Freedom Foundation to help stop their dues deductions.
After becoming fed up with their union and the lack of representation they received at the bargaining table, more than 130 lifeguards across the southern coast sent opt out requests to their union.
California State Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA), the union representing the lifeguards, refused to let out more than two dozen lifeguards, arguing the lifeguards had to remain in the union until the end of its collective bargaining agreement with the California Department of Parks & Recreation, which expires in 2023.
The Freedom Foundation was able to successfully stop dues deductions for 100 of the 130 lifeguards, but we haven’t forgotten about the rest, and we’re launching this lawsuit to make sure every lifeguard has their voice heard.
Bob Wickers, the Freedom Foundation’s California director, said, “When the unions refuse to honor the opt out requests of the workers who contact us, that’s when our litigators get involved. Our litigators take them to court, and that’s why we’re here today.”
“We’re here today not because of the unions,” added Mariah Gondeiro, lead litigator for the Freedom Foundation in California. “We’re here because of the workers. We’re here to protect these workers’ rights. These workers, the lifeguards here today, are part of a greater movement.”
She continued, “This is about protecting these lifeguards’ choice, their individual choice, their ability to choose where they put their money, what speech they support, what activities they support.”
Scott Schneringer, a member of the San Clemente State Lifeguard Association, gave clear and concise reasons for why he wants his dues deduction to stop.
“It’s been year after year of no transparency,” he said. “(And yet we have) no voting rights for (contract) ratification, no medical benefits and no training incentives that are commonplace in other agencies around the state and around the country.
“We’re fed up with not being heard and not being listened to,” he said, “and now the law is finally on our side. We couldn’t be more stoked to have the Freedom Foundation to help us out.”
We’re stoked to be helping them out too. All public employees deserve the right to choose when they can exercise their rights, without drowning in phony opt-out windows.