Colleen Stroeder has worked for the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) as an executive support specialist since 2008. Upon starting her position, Stroeder’s supervisor led her to believe that she was required to join SEIU Local 503 and pay union dues.
After the Supreme Court’s June 2018 decision in Janus v. AFSCME, Stroeder learned of her right to join or not to join a union, and her newly reaffirmed right not to pay the government union to keep her government job. At the time, Stroeder was paying nearly $800 per year in union dues.
She sent a letter to her union rep on August 28, 2018, to resign her membership and cease dues deductions. However, the union refused her request, instead pointing to an arbitrary opt-out window that had already passed just weeks before. On April 23, 2019, she again demanded that the union cease dues deductions, but heard no response back.
Attorneys at the Liberty Justice Center are now representing Stroeder in a lawsuit against SEIU Local 503, ODOT and the Governor of Oregon, Kate Brown. Stroeder is requesting not only a refund of her union dues, but is also challenging the Oregon state law that codifies the arbitrary resignation period which allowed SEIU to continue to violate her First Amendment rights and trap her in the union against her will.