LJC files lawsuit against UTLA on behalf of special education teacher
The Liberty Justice Center and California Policy Center have filed a lawsuit on behalf of special education teacher Thomas Few against the United Teachers of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Unified School District for violating his First Amendment rights to free speech and freedom of association.
Despite the decisive victory for workers’ rights in the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Janus v. AFSCME, Thomas Few is blocked from exercising his right to resign membership from the United Teachers of Los Angeles.
Since the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Janus v. AFSCME on June 27, 2018, Few has attempted to leave UTLA and has asked his employer, LAUSD, to stop withholding union dues from his paycheck. When talking about the his case, Few shared “Union leaders repeat the mantra that they’re here to serve us, but they don’t care about me or my right to choose. I can tell you that teachers’ union leaders see me as a cash machine to fund their special interests. United Teachers of Los Angeles will not allow me to exercise my First Amendment rights because they do not want other teachers to be informed about their rights.”
UTLA has insisted that Few can only exercise his constitutional rights to not be a member once a year during a brief, 30-day period which they define. The Los Angeles Unified School District supports UTLA in its efforts to violate Few’s First Amendment rights to free speech and freedom of association by continuing to withhold union dues from his paycheck without his affirmative consent.
Brian Kelsey, senior attorney for the Liberty Justice Center, said “The U.S. Supreme Court has declared that government employees have a choice and a voice when it comes to union membership. The United Teachers of Los Angeles are violating Thomas Few’s constitutional rights by not allowing him to withdraw from the union. The Unified School District of Los Angeles is complicit in this constitutional violation by taking union dues from Mr. Few’s paycheck against his will.
The State of California laws which authorize this withholding are unconstitutional and unenforceable. The Liberty Justice Center is committed to seeing these rights respected throughout the United States.