Union Leaders Knowingly Overcharge Members to Fund Political Operation

Contact:  Conner Drigotas, 844.293.1001, cddrigotas@fairnesscenter.org

May 18, 2015, HARRISBURG, Pa.—Deliberately overcharging customers to gain more than a hundred thousand dollars sounds like a scheme cooked up by some fly-by-night organization operating on the edges of the law. But Dr. Mary Ann Dailey, an associate professor at Slippery Rock University and a former Pennsylvania state representative, discovered that deceptive fundraising tactics are standard operating procedure for the union claiming to work for her best interests.

The Association of Pennsylvania State College & University Faculties (APSCUF), of which Dailey has been a member for nine years, deliberately overcharges its membership dues to raise money for the union treasury and its political action committee. Today, the Fairness Center is filing an unfair labor charge with the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board on Dailey’s behalf to expose and end this illegal dues scam.

“I feel taken advantage of,” said Dailey. “It is deceitful for the union to overcharge me initially, then only give back my money if I jump through hoops.”

“APSCUF leaders are using their dues-extracting power to intentionally overcharge members and operate a political fundraising scam,” commented Nate Bohlander, assistant general counsel for the Fairness Center. “You can’t take someone’s money and only give it back if they ask.”

News conference in Harrisburg today at 11 a.m.

            Dailey and Bohlander will be joined by David Osborne, general counsel for the Fairness Center. All are available for interviews at the news conference.

Location: Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association Building, First Floor, 225 State Street, Harrisburg, Pa, 17101

How the dues scam works

Every year since at least 1997, APSCUF overcharges membership dues, then holds an annual “Dues Rebate Campaign”—otherwise known as “March Madness”—asking members to donate their overpaid dues to the union’s own political action committee.

“APSCUF deliberately inflates dues and deprives members of that money throughout the year—essentially a forced, interest-free loan,” remarked Bohlander. “It then asks members to send that money to APSCUF’s PAC. The union even assumes that a member’s choice to donate to its PAC one year is carried forward into the next year unless the member specifically says otherwise. This scam has garnered the union up to $66,000 in extra money for its PAC just last year.

“If APSCUF fails to hear from members within a brief and arbitrary window, it keeps their money for union activities that may also be political in nature.”

Dailey experienced this firsthand last year. “I filled out the paperwork and they said: ‘You missed it. It’s too late. You can’t get your money back’,” she said. “I think it’s unfair. It’s frustrating and burdensome. They shouldn’t have taken extra money from me in the first place.”

“The scam is unfair, burdensome, and also illegal,” said Bohlander.

The law

Under the Public Employe Relations Act (PERA), it is an unfair labor practice for a public-sector union to “coerce” employees into “assist[ing]” the union or to engage in “concerted activities for the purpose of…mutual aid and protection.”

“APSCUF members are required to pay the union the amount it sets in membership dues,” noted Bohlander. “By artificially overcharging dues, the union is coercing members into assisting the union. It’s a violation of Pennsylvania labor law.

“Dr. Dailey is asking the PLRB to issue a cease and desist order and to ensure APSCUF members cheated out of dues money are made whole. APSCUF should not be using professors like Mary Ann Dailey to grease its political machine.”

The complainant

Dr. Mary Ann Dailey is an associate professor of nursing at Slippery Rock University. She has taught for 27 years and has been a nurse for 46 years. From 1998-2004, she represented part of Montgomery County in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

Case Documents:

Contact Conner Drigotas, 844.293.1001, cddrigotas@fairnesscenter.org to schedule an interview.

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The Fairness Center is a nonprofit, public interest law firm offering free legal services to those facing unjust treatment from public employee union leaders. For more information visit www.FairnessCenter.org.