by J.D. Davidson
A city employee in southwest Ohio says a union continues to collect money from his paycheck after deciding he did not want to be a part of the organization.
Timothy Crane, a city of Hamilton employee, filed a federal lawsuit against both the city and the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 20, claiming compulsory fees taken from his paycheck violate his First Amendment rights, according to a news release from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.
The lawsuit, filed in the Southern District of Ohio, claims union leaders are infringing on his rights by forcing him to pay an “agreement administration fee” that amounts to more than 90% of full union dues as a condition of employment, according to the release.
“IUOE bosses, who may have thought they were going to trick employees into funding their agenda against their will with this blatantly unconstitutional scheme, have now been caught red-handed,” said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Rank-and-file workers like Mr. Crane now see that IUOE officials are far more interested in keeping hard-earned employee cash flowing into their coffers than in respecting the First Amendment rights of the workers they claim to represent.”
The union had no comment on the lawsuit.
The release says Crane sent letters to union officials in both August and September 2020 in an effort to end the deductions from his paycheck.
According to the lawsuit, the most recent contract between the city and the IUOE Local 20 requires employees who have revoked their dues deduction authorization to pay compulsory agreement administration fees.
Crane wants the district court to stop the payments and refund the money.
In 2018, the National Right to Work Foundation and the Chicago-based Liberty Justice Center won a decision in Janus v. AFSCME when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled public workers cannot be forced to pay union dues or fees as a condition of getting or keeping a job.
“The string of Foundation victories for independent-minded Buckeye State employees who just want to exercise their First Amendment rights is not going to end here,” Mix said.
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An Ohio native, J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher. Davidson is a regional editor for The Center Square.
Photo “Hamilton, Ohio” by S&Mj Adventures. CC BY-SA 2.0.