The Freedom Foundation, along with the National Right to Work Committee, filed a class-action federal lawsuit last week challenging SEIU 925’s role as the exclusive representative for thousands of subsidized home care providers. If successful, the lawsuit could “change the rules of engagement between state government and public-sector unions not only in Washington but throughout the rest of the nation, as well.”
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court on behalf of four family home-care providers, is a direct challenge to “the principle of exclusivity, by which one labor union is designated as the sole bargaining representative for every individual worker within a given bargaining unit.” The four families in question do not want to belong to SEIU 925. They object to being forced to pay union dues and otherwise associate with the union. However, under state law, they have no choice.
The lawsuit also seeks “damages in the amount of three years’ worth of ‘unconstitutionally collected dues for each of the plaintiffs,’” according to the Freedom Foundation. The damages would help remedy SEIU unlawful behavior following the U.S. Supreme Court’s Harris vs. Quinn ruling last year. As Shift reported, the union made it extremely difficult for members to act on their rights and opt out. Though members made it clear they wanted out, SEIU continued to deduct membership dues.
The Seattle Times reports, lead plaintiff Cindy Mentele said in a written statement she hoped it would “shed some light on the shadowy relationship between the state and SEIU,” calling the union “more of a political organization than an employee union.”
The Freedom Foundation expects the case to make it to the U.S. Supreme Court.