Oregon Homecare Provider Files Federal Class-Action Lawsuit Challenging Forced Union Dues Scheme

Federal lawsuit takes aim at state policies that force nonunion homecare providers to pay union dues, accept union bargaining

Eugene, OR (August 13, 2015) – With the help of staff attorneys from the National Right to Work Foundation and the Pacific Northwest-based Freedom Foundation, an Oregon homecare provider has filed a federal class-action lawsuit against SEIU Local 503, Governor Kate Brown, and several high-ranking state officials. The lawsuit challenges a state policy that requires nonunion Oregon homecare providers to pay union dues and accept union bargaining over issues related to their caregiving practices.

Julian Brown, the suit’s plaintiff, is a homecare provider from Deschutes County.  He is not an SEIU member but is part of a state-wide bargaining unit of Oregon caregivers who have been forced to accept SEIU bargaining and pay union dues as a condition of receiving a state homecare subsidy.

The lawsuit seeks to enforce and expand upon the National Right to Work Foundation-won Harris v. Quinn U.S. Supreme Court ruling, which outlawed mandatory union dues for homecare providers in 2014. The Court ruled in Harris that requiring nonunion caregivers to pay union dues violated their First Amendment rights.

Brown’s lawsuit contends that forcing nonunion Oregon caregivers to financially support a union and work under union-negotiated policies both violate the First Amendment. The lawsuit seeks to remove SEIU officials’ exclusive bargaining arrangement with the state and end the union’s power to collect mandatory dues from Oregon care providers. Brown also seeks a refund of all union dues deducted from his and all other nonmember providers’ state subsidies since 2013.

The lawsuit was filed in United States District Court for the District of Oregon in Eugene.

“Despite the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed mandatory union dues for homecare providers in 2014, SEIU officials in Oregon persist in collecting forced dues from nonunion caregivers,” said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “We hope this suit will put a stop to this unconstitutional scheme and ensure that nonunion homecare providers are no longer forced to pay union dues or accept the SEIU’s so-called ‘representation’.”

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses.  The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in nearly 200 cases nationwide. Its web address is www.nrtw.org.

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