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Public sector unions have pattern of committing forgery against their own members

Public sector union membership is down, proving that government employees are exercising their First Amendment right to not financially support unions—a right that was, until June 2018, denied to many public employees for decades.

But government unions aren’t happy their grip on public employees’ paychecks has been loosened. So, they hide behind bureaucratic minutiae to prevent dissatisfied members from leaving and have even resorted to the criminal activity of forgery to illegally continue collecting dues.

Five forgery lawsuits have been filed in California, Oregon, and Washington by the Freedom Foundation, exposing this pattern of fraudulent behavior by public sector unions.

In the Oregon case, the plaintiff worked for the Oregon Health Authority for 10 years—all the while paying dues to Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 503. Last September he inquired about leaving the union.

He was told the earliest date he could leave was July 2020, based on the language of a membership card he had signed. This was highly suspicious because he had made a point of never signing any union membership documents.

He demanded to see a copy of the card and, when it arrived, his suspicions were confirmed. The card was riddled with factual errors and omissions, and its signature was clearly forged.

When pressed on the matter, the union produced a copy of a second membership card that had also been forged.

Washington state resident Sigifredo Araujo had a similar experience.

He had pointedly never joined his designated union, SEIU 775, in the seven years he has spent providing Medicaid-subsidized in-home health services to his disabled mother. However, in mid-2018 he noticed for the first time that union dues were being withdrawn from his salary.

When he asked how this could be, Araujo was told he had signed a union membership card. He asked to see the document but never received it.

Over a year later he called again. This time the card was provided. However, when he inspected it, Araujo was shocked to discover his signature, too, had been forged. What’s more, he also found out he had been making contributions to SEIU’s political committee, the so-called Committee on Political Education.

Unions’ unscrupulous tactics to get public employees to continue paying them confirms big labor is not focused on the best interests of our civil servants. The Center will continue to use its workplace freedom projects and its partnership with the Upper Midwest Law Center to stand up to union bullies bent on undermining the First Amendment rights of American workers.

Watch below for a video from the Freedom Foundation on the documented history of government unions stealing signatures from the working people whose interests they claim to represent.




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