Freedom Foundation

Victim of union forgery files lawsuit

In 2017, Cindy Ochoa, a Spokane home-care services provider, contacted the Freedom Foundation after she noticed SEIU 775 was deducting dues from her paycheck.

She found this odd, since she had been one of the first of her peers in this state to opt out of union participation when the U.S. Supreme Court in 2014 affirmed her constitutional right to do so in its Harris v. Quinn ruling.

In a subsequent investigation, it was discovered that SEIU had forged Ochoa’s signature on a membership form in order to continue skimming dues from her. The forgery took place in 2016 and the deductions resumed soon after, extending into 2017.

Cindy spent hours on the phone, sending mail, and emails attempting to get SEIU to stop illegally withdrawing dues from her salary. The Freedom Foundation also intervened on her behalf and, after contacting SEIU and demanding the dues stop, union officials admitted the signatures did not match and ceased withdrawing dues.

Earlier this year, Freedom Foundation attorneys attempted to help Cindy redress the violation of her First Amendment rights by talking directly with SEIU.

Less than one month after those discussions were initiated, SEIU 775 once again withdrawing dues again — this time for unspecified reasons. Again Cindy had to spend her time, energy, and resources to attempt to have SEIU stop withdrawing dues from her paychecks.

Talking with SEIU has gotten her nowhere, so Cindy decided to take her grievances to the courts.

The Freedom Foundation helped her file a claim last week in federal court for violations of her First Amendment rights, emotional distress and unlawful withholding of wages.

SEIU’s extreme callousness and manifest disrespect for the rights of providers it claims to represent, as well as unambiguous disregard of Washington state law, brought these charges, and SEIU will have no one to blame but itself when it ultimately faces the consequences for them.