CaseWeyandt v. PSCOA

Case Status

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

Case Details

With the assistance of National Right to Work Foundation-provided staff attorneys and the Fairness Center, public employees William Weyandt, Mark Mills, Chris Taylor, Brandon Westover, and Cory Yedlosky filed a federal class action lawsuit against the Pennsylvania State Corrections Officers Association (PSCOA) and some Pennsylvania officials, including Governor Tom Wolf.

The United States Supreme Court has repeatedly held that public employees have First Amendment rights that unions cannot violate. The Court extended those rights by holding in Janus v. AFSCME, Council 31, that nonmembers cannot be forced to pay agency fees for union representation. The Court stated, “[f]orcing free and independent individuals to endorse ideas they find objectionable is always demeaning . . . [and c]ompelling a person to subsidize the speech of other private speakers raises similar First Amendment concerns.” 

The PSCOA has claimed that it can require union members to remain in the union until a 15-day escape window period at the end of multi-year collective bargaining agreements. The union supports its position by pointing to maintenance of membership provisions in those agreements and Pennsylvania law. Over a decade ago, however, a judge for the Middle District of Pennsylvania found that someone with a claim similar to the one brought in this case would likely succeed because a union’s failure to recognize an employee’s right to resign from union membership probably violates their constitutional rights. 

Through their lawsuit, the corrections officers seek to have the Court declare their and their colleagues’ unrestricted right to leave the PSCOA, award a refund of dues improperly deducted from the employees’ wages, and to strike down Pennsylvania law and collective bargaining agreement provisions authorizing maintenance of membership. 

 

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Case Documents
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Complaint
June 17, 2019
Press Release
October 8, 2019

Case Status

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