Mendez, Bethany et al. v. California Teachers Association et al.

On March 11, 2019, Dhillon Law Group Inc. and the Freedom Foundation filed a class action in the Northern District of California on behalf of California public school teachers that seeks an order that the Defendants, the California Teachers Association, National Education Association, local affiliates, the Superintendents of Plaintiffs’ employers, and the CA Attorney General. The lawsuit seeks an order that would require the Defendants to obtain legally valid consent before deducting union dues from Plaintiffs’ paychecks, and force the Defendants to refund all illegal dues deductions to date.

The Defendants’ conduct is patently illegal, in light of Plaintiff’s constitutional right to not fund union political advocacy. See Janus v. AFSCME, Council 31, 138 S.Ct. 2448 (June 27, 2018) (holding that before any union dues may be deducted from employee wages, a public employee must freely provide “clear” and “affirmative” consent for union dues deduction. The Court puts the burden on unions to demonstrate through “clear and compelling evidence” that an employee waived her right not to financially support a union. Despite this, the Unions’ membership forms contain no language that would enable clear, prior, informed consent.

In line with Plaintiffs’ Constitutional rights and Janus, this lawsuit seeks to end the illegal dues deductions – including State laws that authorize and compel them –  and to clarify the type of prior consent that will be necessary going forward, before unions deduct dues from teachers’ wages. Such consent should include, for example:

  • Notice to the employee that she is not required to join the union or pay money to the union as a condition of employment;
  • Notice that the union owes her a duty of fair representation even if she chooses not to join or give money to the union;
  • Notice that if he or she chooses to join the union, the union will use a portion of the member dues to fund political lobbying.
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