On August 6, 2020, the National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys sent out a legal notice to State of Ohio workers concerning their First Amendment rights under the Janus v. AFSCME US Supreme Court case. The notice came after approximately 28,000 State of Ohio workers were no longer subject to restrictions on those rights as a consequence of a lawsuit against the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association (OCSEA, AFSCME Council 11) union brought about by a group of State of Ohio employees with free legal counsel from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.
Attorney from Right to Work made the case that the restrictions were unconstitutional under the 2018 Janus v. AFSCME Supreme Court decision, which Foundation staff presented arguments and ultimately won. In Janus, the Court removed mandatory union fees for public sector workers, arguing that it was an infringement of their First Amendment rights. In addition, it declared that only the government can take union dues or fees with an individual’s affirmative consent, which includes a knowing waiver of their First Amendment right not to finance union activities.
Because of the lawsuit’s statement, union officials gave up their attempt to enforce the coercive policy based on union-designed “dues deduction” cards, which Foundation staff attorneys believed did not meet the standard set out in Janus. In other words, 28,000 workers are free to stop dues whenever.
The full notice can be found here: https://www.nrtw.org/ohio-janus/
The notice highlights the simple procedure that enables state employees to exercise their right to stop dues deductions. Sample resignation letters come included in this notice. Additionally, it warns employees that OCSEA union bosses may request that they sign new dues deduction forms that are not covered in the terms of the settlement. The notice reminds workers that under Janus no State of Ohio employee can be forced to sign a union dues deduction form as a condition of employment, irrespective of what union leaders tell them.
“OCSEA intends to solicit employees to sign new membership and dues deduction cards that purport to restrict when employees can stop the deduction of union dues from their wages,” the notice stated.
“All State of Ohio public workers must be aware that they cannot be forced into abandoning their First Amendment right to refrain from subsidizing an unwanted union hierarchy just to keep their jobs,” remarked National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “Any State of Ohio public servant who is falsely told that they must sign a union dues deduction form should contact the Foundation for free legal assistance in defending their Janus rights.”