Pennsylvania liquor store clerk sues former union for dues | State

(The Center Square) – A Pennsylvania liquor store clerk sued his former union in federal court this week for nearly two years of dues that he said were unconstitutionally collected on his paycheck.

Allen Knabb resigned from Local 1776 of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) in January 2020, but says the organization continued to deduct membership dues from his salary. This despite his inability to attend meetings, vote or rely on the union for any kind of support.

When insisting on the matter, the UFCW pointed to a clause in a membership agreement signed by Knabb in 2013 that stated that it could only stop payroll deductions for a 15-day window between the 9 and December 24 of each year.

When asked why Knabb failed to resubmit its application within the deadline last year, Danielle Acker Susanj, vice president and senior legal counsel at The Fairness Center – a legal advocacy group representing Knabb – said that ‘insist that a notice in this window be “arbitrary.” “

“But they’ve already received notice twice in the past year and a half, but still take money from her paychecks,” she said. “It is clear that this is not about giving notice, but about forcing him to pay more to the union.”

Acker Susanj said the UFCW takes about $ 30 from each of Knabb’s paychecks, no matter how many hours he works. She said he is semi-retired and only works part time.

“Like all public servants, Mr. Knabb has a constitutional right not to financially support a union,” said Nathan McGrath, president of the Fairness Center. “But it seems union officials are more concerned with taking our client’s money than respecting his constitutional rights.”

The Equity Center regularly continues cases against public sector unions allegedly violating workers’ rights through collective agreement clauses that make it difficult to stop employee contributions deducted from wages.

The organization has represented at least 10 other public officials in similar case and received a refund, plus interest, for the illegal practice.

These cases follow a 2018 Supreme Court decision in Janus v. AFSCME, which reversed decades of precedent that required non-members to pay unions “agency fees” or “fair share fees” for the costs of collective bargaining.