Professor Avraham Goldstein (pictured) is an observant Orthodox Jew. He was born in the former Soviet Union, where he and his family suffered from extreme anti-Semitic and anti-Jewish abuse at the hands of the Soviet authorities. Their request to leave the Soviet Union was denied for 15 years, until in 1986 the Soviet authorities permitted them to relocate to Israel. Professor Goldstein is a citizen of the State of Israel, he has friends and family residing there, and he is a supporter of that country based on his religious and moral beliefs.
The Fairness Center and attorneys from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation represent Professor Goldstein and five other professors at the City University of New York (CUNY), who do not want the Professional Staff Congress/CUNY (“PSC”) to represent them in employment matters. In June 2021, PSC issued a Resolution that Plaintiffs, many of whom are Jewish, view as anti-Semitic and anti-Jewish. The Resolution addressed what PSC termed “the continued subjection of Palestinians to the state-supported displacement, occupation, and use of lethal force by Israel,” and required chapter-level discussion of possible support by PSC for the “Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions” movement.
The plaintiffs have all resigned from membership in PSC because they oppose its political advocacy and how it favors certain groups in their roughly 30,000-person bargaining unit over others. But New York law forces them to be represented by PSC, even though they strongly oppose being tied to it in any way. And further, under recently passed legislation, New York law also explicitly lessens what unions must do for nonmember employees, shrinking what a union’s duty of fair representation has historically been. The plaintiffs oppose being represented in the same pool with 30,000 other members of “instructional staff” at CUNY, who have different employment interests and political views than their own. They bring this lawsuit to vindicate their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and association.
Avraham Goldstein, Michael Goldstein, Frimette Kass-Shraibman, Jeffrey Lax, Mitchell Langbert, Maria Pagano v. Professional Staff Congress/CUNY; City University of New York; John Wirenius, in his official capacity as Chairperson of the New York Public Employee Relations Board; Rosemary A. Townley, in her official capacity as Member of the New York Public Employee Relations Board; Anthony Zumbolo, in his official capacity as Member of the New York Public Employee Relations Board; City of New York; Thomas P. DiNapoli, in his official capacity as New York State Comptroller.
This case was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
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