Washington State Employees Sue to Leave Union After Being Told They Missed the 'Escape Period'

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Posted: Aug 03, 2018 3:00 PM
Washington State Employees Sue to Leave Union After Being Told They Missed the 'Escape Period'

The Supreme Court's recent ruling in Janus v. AFSCME is already having an impact on workers' unions across the country. In June, the high court said state government workers could not be forced to pay “fair share” fees to support collective bargaining and other union activities. It was a huge defeat for Big Labor.

Employees in Washington state are pouncing on the Supreme Court case as a way to leave the Washington Federation of State Employees. The six plaintiffs on the suit were told they have to wait until next year's “escape period” because their membership agreements only allowed a window of 10 and 20 days for them to resign from the union once a year. They sued, demanding their restitution of dues.

“I just want what’s right and fair, and the way the union has treated me since the Janus decision is not right, nor fair,” said Department of Social and Health Services employee Mike Stone, one of the plaintiffs. “WFSE doesn’t share my views or my values. I don’t want my money being used to support an organization I disagree with.”

Another plaintiff, Ms. Torres, said it was unclear what she was even signing when she first joined the union. Like the other employees on the suit, she reportedly was under the impression that membership was required, as opposed to just paying the reduced fee as a nonmember.

"It’s totally unethical for the union to trick state workers to sign away their constitutional rights and then turn around and tell you that you cannot opt out because you signed a contract,” she said in a statement provided to Fox News. “I had no knowledge that the form they provided was a contract. This is an outrage and disrespectful. I want my right to opt out.”

The Freedom Foundation filed the suit on behalf of the plaintiffs.

Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, cheered the June Janus decision, but noted that there was still a lot of work to do to beat coercive unionism.

"Millions of private sector workers in states without Right to Work protections are still forced to pay union fees or else be fired," he noted in a statement. "Further, workers of all stripes continue to have their freedoms of association violated by being forced under union monopoly ‘representation’ against their will."