Operating Engineers Union Hit with Charge for Illegally Demanding Forced Union Fees from Worker in Violation of Supreme Court’s Janus Decision

Membership in California’s government unions plummeted in 2018, federal report shows

EMBARGOED: Janus attorneys and Cal Policy Center represent Los Angeles teacher in lawsuit against LAUSD, UTLA



Kristen Williamson or 847-651-8611

Will Swaim or 949-274-1911

EMBARGOED until Nov. 13 at 10 a.m. PST

Janus attorneys and California Policy Center represent Los Angeles teacher in lawsuit against LAUSD, UTLA

LOS ANGELES (Nov. 13, 2018) – Attorneys from the Liberty Justice Center and the California Policy Centerhave filed a lawsuit on behalf of a Los Angeles teacher against the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA). The lawsuit alleges that the LAUSD and UTLA violated the plaintiff’s First Amendment rights of free speech and freedom of association.

“After the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME, government employees have a choice and a voice when it comes to union membership,” said Brian Kelsey, senior attorney, Liberty Justice Center. “Public employers in California that continue to withhold union dues and fees from employees without clear, voluntary, and informed consent from those employees, are actively defying the Court’s ruling and are violating employees’ First Amendment rights.”

WHAT: Press conference and media availability announcing litigation filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California

WHO: Plaintiff, teacher, Los Angeles Unified School District
Brian Kelsey, senior attorney, Liberty Justice Center
Mark Bucher, CEO, California Policy Center
Mark Janus, plaintiff in Janus v. AFSCME and senior fellow, Liberty Justice Center

WHEN: Tuesday, Nov. 13 at 10 a.m. PST

WHERE: New Los Angeles US Courthouse – outside Broadway Street entrance
350 W. 1stStreet
Los Angeles, CA 90012

INTERVIEWS: Speakers will be available to answer media questions following a brief statement.

The Liberty Justice Center is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public-interest litigation center that fights to protect economic liberty, private property rights, free speech, and other fundamental rights. First and foremost, the Liberty Justice Center seeks to ensure that the rights to earn a living and to start a business, which are essential to a free and prosperous society, are available not just to a politically privileged few, but to all. The Liberty Justice Center pursues its goals through strategic, precedent-setting litigation to revitalize constitutional restraints on government power and protections for individual rights. Learn more at

The California Policy Center is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public-interest organization that promotes prosperity for all Californians through limited government and individual liberty. Learn more at

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After Janus, California teachers unions teaching us a lesson in sleight-of-hand

Santa Ana Unified’s Monte Vista Elementary: Everybody graduates, only 15% read at grade level. (Source: California School Acountability Report Card)

On June 27, the U.S. Supreme Court abolished the 40-year practice of requiring public employees to join a union. But a day later, union leaders in California’s sixth-largest school district were hard at work – blocking the exits.

In a June 28 email, Santa Ana Educators Association president Barbara Pearson urged teachers to renew membership in her union. She helpfully provided a one-page application and simple instructions for returning it.

Her email and the language of the new member agreement reveal how desperate the union has become. While you can join the union easily (“Feel free to fill out your form and email to or”), getting out is another story. Check out the fine print:

“I fully understand that the dues required for membership in the three associations [local, CTA, NEA] are subject to periodic change by the associations’ governing bodies and authorize dues payment on a continuing basis, and regardless of my membership status, unless my obligation to do so ends under one of the circumstances below.”

What are those circumstances?

“This agreement to pay dues continues from year to year, regardless of my membership status, unless: I revoke it by sending written notice via U.S. mail to CTA Member Services, P.O. Box 4178, Burlingame, CA 94011, not less than thirty (30) days and not more than sixty (60) days before the annual anniversary date of this agreement; my employment with the Employer ends; or as otherwise required by law.”

To summarize the “circumstances”: You’re signing up for three associations. The dues can change whenever those associations say they can. You’ll pay those dues for as long as you teach in that district.

There’s one way out: If  you want to leave the union, the new agreement states, you must snail-mail your resignation letter so that it arrives in the union’s P.O. Box (not its widely published street address) within a 30-day window before the anniversary of the day you filled out the form (“not less than thirty (30) days and not more than sixty (60) days before the annual anniversary date of this agreement”).

Clear? Of course not. And that’s the point. If this sort of contract were part of your credit card, home loan, or cell phone agreement, the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau might call it a deceptive marketing practice or an improper contract disclosure.

But this is a government union, and government union leaders have little experience with recruiting members honestly. Until yesterday, they relied on force to make public employees pay the union. Now, following Janus, they’ve resorted to deception. The lesson the teachers union taught us on June 28: When coercion is illegal, and when persuasion fails, try sleight of hand.

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Unions rigged the rules, but can do little more than brace for end of mandatory union dues