CaseWessner v. AFSCME, Council 13

Case Status

The case was filed in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

Case Details

The Fairness Center represents Tammy C. Wessner, a psychiatric aide at Wernersville State Hospital. Years ago, Ms. Wessner was asked to, and did, sign a card that made her a member of AFSCME, Council 13. But in 2018, she resigned her membership after several years of researching how to get out of the union because she believes that the union does not represent her interests or beliefs. The union, however, refused to honor her resignation, never even bothering to respond to her resignation letter. 

Ms. Wessner brings this lawsuit to establish that the union cannot force her to remain a union member. She contends in this lawsuit that the union’s failure to honor her resignation violates her constitutional rights to freedom of speech and association.

Pennsylvania law currently allows unions to force their members to stay in a union until a 15-day resignation period that occurs only when a collective bargaining agreement expires. In this case, that 15-day window occurs at the end of the three-year term of the current agreement, in June 2019. The union refuses to honor Ms. Wessner’s resignation, instead forcing her to remain on its rolls with union dues regularly deducted from her wages. But Ms. Wessner does not want to remain a union member against her will, forced to be associated with a group with which she disagrees and to support that group financially.

Unions should not be able to force public employees to be union members against their will, remaining associated with a group with which they disagree and having to support that group financially. Ms. Wessner seeks to establish that her constitutional rights cannot be limited to a 15-day resignation window every three or more years.

 

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Case Documents
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Backgrounder
March 25, 2019
Complaint
March 27, 2019
Press Release
March 27, 2019

Case Status

The case was filed in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.