June 29, 2021, Harrisburg, PA – Three years ago the Supreme Court ruled that public-sector union officials could not compel nonmembers to pay union fees. But local officials of Pennsylvania’s largest teachers’ union, Pennsylvania State Education Association (“PSEA”), are still inking contracts that could cause nonmembers to pay illegal union fees. In Janus v. AFSCME, Council 31, the Court held that forced union fees violated employees’ constitutional rights. But local PSEA officials have been sending threatening “collection” notices to a nonmember Scranton-area public school teacher, telling him he must pay them by August 31, 2021, according to a new federal lawsuit.
Dave Perrotti resigned from the PSEA and Abington Heights Education Association last year. Although union officials acknowledged his resignation, the union’s contract with his employer—signed after the Supreme Court’s decision in Janus—requires him and other nonmembers to pay fair share fees in blatant violation of the Supreme Court’s ruling.
Since his resignation, Mr. Perrotti has received threatening letters from union officials, claiming he owes them hundreds of dollars, even though he is no longer a member and never agreed to continue paying the union as a nonmember. To defend his constitutional right not to support or be associated with a union against his will, Mr. Perrotti has brought a federal civil rights action against the PSEA and its local affiliate. He is represented by attorneys at the Fairness Center, a nonprofit public interest law firm that offers free legal help to those hurt by public-sector union officials. The Fairness Center has represented more than five public school teachers in connection with similar demands from the PSEA or its local affiliates.
Fairness Center President Nathan McGrath released the following statement:
“The Supreme Court settled this issue three years ago, but PSEA and its local officials don’t seem to care. They appear to want our client’s money, whether he is a member or not. But like all nonmember public employees, Mr. Perrotti has the right not to financially support a union. Instead of making threats and attempting to collect from a nonmember, these union officials should respect the Supreme Court’s ruling and honor our client’s constitutional rights.”
This case was filed in the Federal District Court in the Middle District of Pennsylvania.
Fairness Center attorneys are available for comment. Contact John Sweeney at 609.477.0930, or [email protected] to schedule an interview.
The Fairness Center is a nonprofit, public interest law firm offering free legal services to those hurt by public-sector union officials. For more information visit www.FairnessCenter.org