Chris Taylor had to file a federal lawsuit to resign from PSCOA;
now union officials claim they can charge him and other nonmembers representation fees
July 13, 2021, Harrisburg, PA – Leave the union and it will cost you. That’s how the Pennsylvania State Corrections Officers Association (“PSCOA”) treats employees who resign their union membership. After Chris Taylor, a Pennsylvania corrections officer, and several colleagues resigned from the union, PSCOA officials instituted a policy of discrimination against nonmembers, including requiring nonmembers to pay PSCOA to pursue grievances, Mr. Taylor alleges in a new lawsuit.
Mr. Taylor resigned from PSCOA but had to file a federal lawsuit just to get the union to recognize his resignation. Shortly after that lawsuit was filed, PSCOA issued a fees schedule that lists what the union charges nonmembers to file and to represent them in grievances and other contractual proceedings—which employees cannot necessarily do for themselves.
As a result, Mr. Taylor has filed a state court lawsuit alleging that PSCOA has a policy of treating nonmembers differently than union members, and that this violates the union’s duty of fair representation under Pennsylvania law. 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.
Fairness Center President Nathan McGrath released the following statement:
“It’s bad enough that Mr. Taylor had to file a federal lawsuit just to exercise his constitutional right to resign from the union. But then PSCOA officials announced a discriminatory policy that specifically punishes nonmembers. State law, however, is clear: unions owe the same representation to all public employees they represent when it comes to contract issues, whether the employees choose to be members of the union or not.”
Mr. Taylor has another lawsuit pending against PSCOA that he filed with several colleagues to seek answers after they began suspecting improper expenditures by union officials. Since that lawsuit was filed, the local union’s treasurer has pleaded guilty to theft of funds, and Mr. Taylor and his co-plaintiffs continue their quest for an explanation of what went wrong with the handling of union members’ money.
Fairness Center attorneys are available for comment. Contact John Sweeney at 609.477.0930, or [email protected] to schedule an interview.