SAN JOSE, Calif. (Legal Newsline) - A Santa Clara Valley Medical Center pharmacist has filed a complaint against the Service Employees International Union Local 521 for allegedly refusing to honor his right to refrain from full-dues-paying union membership.

Jeffrey Lum of Cupertino filed the charge with the California Public Employment Relations Board.

Lum is a state employee who exercised his right to not join a union. He sent a letter to the SEIU notifying the union hierarchy of his decision in November.

Because California does not have a right-to-work law workers who opt out of formal union membership may still be compelled to pay part of union dues to keep their jobs. However, nonmember workers cannot be required to pay union dues spent for union activities like political activism, lobbying and member-only events.

SEIU Local 521 officials acknowledged Lum's resignation letter but still continue to extract full union dues from his paychecks, the complaint says. They allegedly claimed Lum's resignation from formal union membership did not meet the union's criteria.

Lum's complaint seeks an acknowledgment from the union that he is no longer a formal member, an independently audited breakdown of union expenditures, a refund of illegally seized forced union dues from his paycheck dating back to January, and the posting of notices in the workplace informing workers of their right to refrain from union membership.

"SEIU bosses are nitpicking the rules to illegally coerce workers into full-dues-paying union ranks against their will," said Mark Mix, President of National Right to Work.

"To prevent these types of forced unionism abuses in the future, California desperately needs to pass a Right to Work law making union affiliation and dues payments completely voluntary."

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