Score a win for the little guy. The Sidney Daily News reports that 14 Ohio public school teachers won a federal class action settlement against the OEA and 11 of its regional affiliates for overcharging non-full-members and illegally directing the funds to political activities. As per U.S. Supreme Court precedent, unions cannot force non-members to contribute to a union’s political advocacy or other non-bargaining activities.
In addition, the OEA’s regional affiliates were collecting compulsory fees without providing the kind of independently audited financial statements which are required by law to ensure the funds are not directed to member-only purposes.
Media Trackers covered this story in December 2013 and provided a list of the OEA affiliates named in the suit:
- Capital District of Ohio Education Association
- Columbus Education Association
- Central OEA/NEA
- East Central Ohio Education Association
- Eastern Ohio Education Association
- North Central Ohio Education Association
- North Eastern Ohio Education Association
- Northwestern Ohio Education Association
- Southeastern Ohio Education Association
- Southwestern Ohio Education Association
- Western Ohio Education Association
Sidney Daily News indicates that over 2,000 Ohio teachers were awarded “nominal damages and/or rebates for union dues illegally-seized from their paychecks during the 2009/10 to 2012/13 school years.”
The participants of the class action were represented by the National Right to Work Foundation whose President Mark Mix put the win into perspective. The Sidney Daily quotes Mix as follows,
“Despite this victory, it’s important to remember that the OEA union machine forced nonmembers to pay a large part of the money used to defeat public-sector reforms (SB 5) in the Buckeye State in 2011 – reforms that would have allowed teachers to opt out of forced dues payments all together. This case underscores the need for Ohio to pass a Right to Work law protecting all of Ohio’s workers.”
Sidney Daily News notes that 24 states have Right to Work laws in place and that 80 percent of Americans support the principle of Right to Work. The National Right to Work Foundation provides a chart of Right to Work states on its homepage.
This case underscores the importance of the work being done by the volunteers of Ohioans for Workplace Freedom who are collecting petition signatures to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot which would establish Right to Work protections in Ohio. The group’s mission statement reads as follows,
Our mission is to secure the rights of middle-class working Ohioans, through the amending of the Ohio Constitution, to “Workplace Freedom,” which would mean that no longer can any group, government, or person be able to force or coerce any Ohioan into joining or contributing to an organization they do not support.
You can learn more about Ohioans for Workplace Freedom, donate, or volunteer at their website HERE.
The Sidney Daily News article can be found HERE.