Kyla Asbury Oct. 27, 2014, 9:11am

SANTA ANA, Calif. (Legal Newsline) - Four Los Angeles Unified School District workers have filed a class action lawsuit against Service Employees International Union Local 99 for allegedly violating their constitutional rights.

Douglas Kennedy, Eduardo Berumen, Griselda Moran and Magi Sahagian claim SEIU refused to accept their resignations and/or requests to pay only a reduced agency fee amount that does not include political, ideological and other non-chargeable expenses, according to a complaint filed Oct. 9 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

The National Right to Work Foundation is providing free legal assistance to the plaintiffs in their lawsuit against the union, the Los Angeles Unified School District and Megan K. Reilly, the chief financial officer of LAUSD.

"SEIU officials are stonewalling workers' attempts to refrain from paying for the union bosses' radical political agenda," said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. "This case underscores the need for California to pass a Right to Work law making union membership and dues payments strictly voluntary."

The plaintiffs claim the defendant continued to collect the non-chargeable dues and fees from them despite their resignations from Local 99 memberships and/or their objections to paying for Local 99's political, ideological and non-chargeable activities.

The agreements have a "Union Security and Dues Deduction" article and the agreements have no restriction on when and how a union member may resign his or her union membership, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs claim the agreements contain a provision that limits bargaining unit employees' ability to revoke their dues deduction authorizations to a specified window period.

The defendant denied the plaintiffs' several requests to refrain from full dues paying union membership, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs claim because California does not have Right to Work protections for workers, workers can be forced to pay union dues and fees to an unwanted union as a condition of employment.

Despite the workers' requests to refrain from union membership and full union dues payments, the Los Angeles Unified School District continues to confiscate full union dues from the workers' paychecks, they claim.

The plaintiffs claim they  are also challenging Local 99's agreement provision with the school district that restricts workers' ability to resign union membership and dues payments to a period of 30 days over the life of an agreement, which is often for a period of three years.

As a result of the defendants' unlawful actions, the plaintiffs were deprived of their rights and suffered monetary damages, the complaint claims.

The plaintiffs are seeking class certification, a preliminary injunction ordering the defendants to cease the enforcement of Article VIII of the agreements and compensatory damages. They are represented by Thomas Myers of Smith & Myers LLP; and Nathan J. McGrath and Milton L. Chappell of Defense Foundation Inc.

The case is assigned to District Judge Andre Birotte Jr.

U.S. District Court for the Central District of California case number: 2:14-cv-07855

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