An Ohio public school bus driver filed a federal lawsuit Monday against the Ohio Association of Public School Employees (OAPSE) after union officials ordered her school district to seize union dues from her paycheck.
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio with pro-bono legal assistance from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, which announced the lawsuit in a Monday press release.
According to the release, bus driver Donna Fizer notified school board officials for the Ripley Union Lewis Huntington School District in September 2018 that she was “immediately withdrawing membership” from OAPSE.
The treasurer for the school district initially complied with the request and ceased deducting union dues from Fizer’s paychecks. But then OAPSE union bosses filed a grievance, which claimed Fizer didn’t submit her revocation of membership within a union-created “escape period” that lasts for 10 days every few years.
Union officials demanded that the school district continue to seize dues from her paychecks and asked to be made “whole for all lost dues.” While the school district at first refused to comply with the request, citing the Supreme Court’s Janus v. AFSCME decision, arbitration proceedings between the district and OAPSE upheld the enforcement of the so-called “escape period.”
Now, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation has filed a federal lawsuit against OAPSE, arguing that “escape periods,” a common union tactic, impose an “illegal hindrance on public employees’ ability to exercise their First Amendment rights under Janus.”
“Contrary to the wishes of union bosses, their concocted ‘escape period’ schemes cannot limit public employees’ First Amendment rights to just a few days every few years,” said National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “OAPSE union officials are ignoring the Janus decision so they can greedily continue siphoning off Fizer’s hard-earned money.”
As The Ohio Star recently reported, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation has also filed a lawsuit against Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and the state’s largest union for government employees over a contract that allegedly violates workers’ First Amendment rights.
“The Foundation is proud to stand with Donna Fizer and countless other public employees in dozens of cases all across the country who are fighting to force union bosses to respect their First Amendment Janus rights,” Mix added.
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