Cara O’Callaghan spends her days on the campus of the University of California Santa Barbara, helping students in sports clubs manage their team finances. The campus has been her home since her own undergraduate days. But unfortunately, her job at the university came with a catch: since she is employed by a public institution, prior to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Janus v. AFSCME Cara was required to pay money to a union at her workplace. Here’s what happened to her in the early summer of 2018:
“I chose to become a member of the union because representatives came around our offices in May 2018 with a very forceful presentation of why we should join the union,” Cara said. “A representative came back around a couple of weeks later pressuring me and some of my colleagues to join, so we caved and decided to join the union. We did not know about the Janus case, so we believed we would have been paying [union] fees no matter what.”
Cara felt duped when she read about the Janus decision just a few weeks later and received an email from the UCSB President in July 2018 that said fee payers now had the choice to not pay union dues at all. She kept replaying in her head the conversations with the representative from her union, Teamsters Local 2010. “Now I understood why that union representative had come around and pressured everybody to join the union,” Cara explained. “Because of the Janus ruling, I had a choice to not pay if I had stayed an active fee payer. Now that I was a member of the union, I had no choice.”
Cara turned to the Liberty Justice Center for help when the Teamsters said they would continue collecting dues until 2022 – four years after the Supreme Court’s ruling in Janus. The Liberty Justice Center is fighting to help get Cara out of the union and to stop the union from taking money from her paycheck.
“When I started working with the Liberty Justice Center I found a place that supported my decision to no longer want to pay the union and they affirmed that I had power in this situation. The union made me feel powerless, but with everybody at LJC, I feel that I’ve been supported as a person and as a worker at UCSB that is trying to make a choice and is finding power in her voice.”