by J.D. Davidson
A Cuyahoga County probation officer wants union dues taken out of her paycheck returned because she was never part of the Fraternal Order of Police Ohio Labor Council union.
The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation has filed a federal lawsuit in the Northern District of Ohio on behalf of Kimberlee Warren against the Fraternal Order of Police Ohio Labor Council, claiming union officials violated her First Amendment rights as a public employee by continuing to collect union dues without her consent.
The foundation is basing the lawsuit on the 2018 Janus vs. AFSCME Supreme Court case the foundation argued and won. The ruling in the case said it was a First Amendment violation to force any public employee to pay union dues or fees as a condition of keeping their job, and unions must get the employee’s consent to collect dues or fees.
“Despite her repeated requests, FOP bosses have continued to trample Warren’s Janus rights, and Foundation staff attorneys are fighting to stop this gross injustice against her and punish FOP bosses for their brazen behavior,” Foundation President Mark Mix said.
Before the Janus decision, public-sector unions nationwide were allowed to collect dues from nonmembers for representational activities. After the ruling, the lawsuit claims the union designated her as a member and took full dues.
The lawsuit asks for all dues collected after the Janus decision, along with punitive damages.
The Fraternal Order of Police Ohio Labor Council union did not return messages for comment.
The foundation has similar lawsuits filed in Chicago, New Jersey and California.
“All over the country, union officials are stopping at nothing to ensure they can continue ignoring workers’ First Amendment Janus rights and continue siphoning money from paychecks of dissenting employees,” Mix said. “After Janus was handed down, FOP union officials in Warren’s workplace could have come to her to attempt to get her to support the union voluntarily, but instead, tellingly, they began surreptitiously siphoning full dues out of her paycheck without her consent in direct contravention of the Supreme Court.”
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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. He is a regional editor for The Center Square.
Photo “Police Officers” by Fraternal Order of Police Ohio.