Seattle Building Services Worker Stands Up to Union Bosses for Seizing Dues from Him Without His Consent

On June 17, 2020, Pacific Building Services employee Daniel Dalison filed a federal lawsuit against Service Employees International Union (SEIU6) Property Services NW for infringing on his labor rights by using deceptive membership forms that misinform workers about the freedoms they enjoy. Dalison is filing charges against the union and the Pacific Building Services for illegally taking dues from his paycheck, although he never approved any dues deductions and rejected union membership and paying dues above the amount required as a condition of employment.

Due to the fact that Washington State is not a Right to Work jurisdiction, private sector employees are still compelled to pay union dues as a condition of employment. However, employees who refuse to join a union have to pay dues that are limited by precedents set forth by the CWA v. Beck Supreme Court decision. The portion of dues they owe in this case is limited to bargaining purposes and cannot be directed towards union political and lobbying purposes. In addition, Beck also mandates that unions comply with certain procedures before seizing forced dues from nonmember paychecks, which includes providing an independent audit of the union’s expenses.

Dalison filed his lawsuit at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) with free legal counsel from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys. The charges allege he was hired by Pacific Building Services in May 2020 and received an information packet from SEIU6 during the same month.

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According to the SEIU6’s welcome packet, the organization incorrectly informed Dalison that he couldn’t assert his Beck right to reject full union dues payment outside the 31-day window after he was hired. Further, Dalison’s charge details that the membership form featured in the packet is an illegal “dual purpose” form, which, if signed, activates automatic dues payments from an employee’s paycheck despite “actually say[ing] nothing about dues authorization.” According to federal law, employers cannot seize union dues or fees directly from employees’ paychecks unless they receive affirmative consent from them, irrespective of their union membership status.

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After he received the information packet, Dalison sent the union letters “stating that he did not want union membership” and desired to only pay the required fees to stay gainfully employed. He also requested that the union conduct an independent audit of its expenses and provide a copy of the monopoly bargaining contract between it and Pacific Building Services. The charge says that the union responded with a letter claiming “he must have misunderstood his options” and that its records demonstrated that he was a member and must pay full union dues.

Despite never exercising consent to union membership and submitting objection letters, Dalison’s charge highlighted that full dues were seized from his paycheck on June 8, 2020. His charge argues that this action was in violation of his right under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) “to refrain from any or all” union activities. His charge is also pursuing an injunction under Section 10(j) of the NLRA to compel the SEIU and employer to immediately cease the activities outlined in the charges while the NLRB conducts an investigation.

Earlier in 2020, Dalison filed complaints against SEIU 1199NW officials for infringing on his labor rights at Swedish Medical Center, where he was also employed. The charges asserted that SEIU 1199NW bosses prevented workers from exercising their Beck rights and also instructed workers to provide photo identification whenever they requested to see paperwork about the union membership and dues check off authorizations. The aforementioned charges are still pending at NLRB Region 19.

“Within just a few months, Seattle SEIU bosses have proved repeatedly that they will violate the rights of the workers they claim to represent just to illegally siphon dues from employee paychecks,” said National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “NLRB Region 19, which is now knee-deep in pending employee charges revealing the brazen tactics of coercion engaged in by these union bosses, must immediately seek an injunction to protect workers from these egregious schemes.”

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