It seems like we already heard the story of Janus v. AFSCME and know how it ends. Still, California is making Mike Jackson and Tory Smith sit through another telling of it.
Mike and Tory are parking staff members at the University of California San Diego. Neither were told they had a choice other than to join their government union – Teamsters Local 2010 – and pay about $600 a year in union dues. And they had no choice but to pay the union until a year ago, when the U.S. Supreme Court sided with me and workers across America by ruling we could not be forced to pay a union just to keep our public service jobs.
Mike told the Teamsters he wanted out. Tory did, too. The union told them they could not leave until the contract expired in March 2022. They next went to the university’s HR department and asked to stop union dues deductions. But, they were told California state law prohibited the university from even discussing their constitutional rights about unions and dues.
That law, Senate Bill 866, was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on the day the Janus v. AFSCME decision came down. Brown put a gag on state employers on the very day employees regained their First Amendment rights.
“I love my job and working at UCSD, but I don’t want to be part of the union,” Mike said. “They’re taking hundreds of dollars from my paycheck every year to push their own agenda. I don’t feel like they represent me. I shouldn’t be forced to be a member of the union if I don’t want to be.”
Mike and Tory could just sit back until March 2022, losing thousands of dollars, or they could fight. They chose to fight. On Tuesday the Liberty Justice Center and Pacific Legal Foundation filed a federal lawsuit on their behalf against the state and the union. We aim to stop the dues deductions and free public employers to tell workers the truth about their rights.
The same story is playing out for Cara O’Callaghan, a sports club finance manager at UC-Santa Barbara wanting out of the same union and faced with the same barriers. Liberty Justice Center is representing her in a separate federal lawsuit seeking the same goals. You can read more about her story in The Wall Street Journal.
It’s easy to nod off when hearing the same things over and over. That’s by design, as unions and their government enablers push to keep workers from exercising their rights.
We have no intention of allowing them to take back or curb our rights. We won’t stop paying attention. We won’t give up.