Patricia Grossman’s story is not a new one, but that doesn’t make it any less poignant. Thirty-five years working at University of Hawaii at Hilo was not long enough for her employer and her government to put her First Amendment rights above the interests of the union.
Patricia is currently an admissions officer at the University. When she heard about the Janus decision in July, she began trying to exercise her First Amendment right to stop paying dues and leave the Hawaii Government Employees Association.
Her request has been denied. In fact, the HGEA is asserting that a Hawaii state law passed in April 2018 trumps the Supreme Court ruling inJune. Hawaii limits government workers to opting out during an arbitrary 30-day period prior to their anniversary date. However, the Supreme Court asserted that government workers could not be required to fund or join a union as a condition of employment and that unions must demonstrate affirmative consent after the decision in order to withdraw dues.
During a debate in Hawaii earlier this year, a local leader summed the situation up: “Asked whether the new law was constitutional under Janus, Gill acknowledged, ‘Probably not,’ but added someone would have to bring a ‘concrete case’ challenging the law.”
And so we are! Grossman v. HGEA launched earlier this month, with the goal of forcing the HGEA and Hawaiian state government to recognize the First Amendment rights of their workers.
Are you facing challenges in your state? Let us know, we may be able to help. For every case we’re bringing to court, dozens of workers are finding their rights miraculously recognized once the Liberty Justice Center gets involved.