Spano Lonis v. SEIU, District 1199NE


“Union officials treated me like an ATM. They ignored their own rules, violated my rights, and misused my money. I did everything I could to ensure my money wasn’t used by union officials for purposes that violate my moral and religious beliefs.”

SEIU, District 1199NE officials ignored Ms. Spano Lonis’s resignation for nearly three years, continuing to deduct full union dues from her paycheck during that time, and blocked thousands of dollars in charitable contributions.

Moreover, union officials failed to provide Ms. Spano Lonis with notices that were at that time legally required by the United States Supreme Court, instead leaving her in the dark about her membership status and using her money, in part, for purposes contrary to her religious beliefs.

Cheryl A. Spano Lonis v. New England Health Care Employees Union, District 1199, SEIU; Dannel Malloy, in his official capacity as Governor of the State of Connecticut; Scott Semple, in his official capacity as Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Correction; Benjamin Barnes, in his official capacity as Secretary of Office of Policy and Management, State of Connecticut; Sandra Fae Brown-Brewton, in her official capacity as Negotiator for the Office of Labor Relations, State of Connecticut; and Kevin Lembo, in his official capacity as Comptroller for the State of Connecticut

Cheryl A. Spano Lonis is challenging her union’s failure to honor her resignation and to provide her with constitutionally required notices and procedures. Ms. Spano Lonis resigned her union membership after reconnecting with her church and concluding that her religious beliefs precluded her membership in or financial support of the union and its activities.

The union ignored her resignation, however, for nearly three years and the State of Connecticut continued collecting full union dues from her wages during that time. It did so even though the collective bargaining agreement between her union and the State provided that religious objectors could resign union membership and donate an amount of union fees equivalent to union dues to charity. The union also never provided her with constitutionally required notices and procedures, none of which were even provided for in the collective bargaining agreement between the union and state.

The case was settled in January 2019.

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