SEIU Settles Lawsuit with State Employee

SEIU recently agreed to settle a lawsuit filed against it by Debora Nearman, a non-member who was forced to pay union fees. As a pro-life Catholic, she opposed the union’s support for abortion. Ms. Nearman, an Oregon state employee, filed a lawsuit against the union after it spent over $50,000 attacking her husband Mike Nearman, a state representative.

SEIU accused Rep. Nearman of not supporting fair wages for disabled people even though both his wife and daughter are disabled. Nonetheless, Rep. Nearman was still reelected with a margin of more than 15 points.

Rather than take its chances in court, SEIU agreed to pay Ms. Nearman nearly $3,000. Furthermore, SEIU agreed that it will not seek or accept any dues or fee money deducted from Ms. Nearman’s paychecks without her consent.

“I am very pleased with the result of my case,” [Ms.] Nearman said. “This will help others gain the confidence to withdraw from unions they disagree with.”

Nearman’s attorney Jill Gibson said she hopes the settlement will set a standard for employees looking to recoup back wages.

“I am very pleased this is the first post-Janus return of compulsory dues,” she said. “I hope this sends the message that unions are supposed to benefit employees, not the other way around.”

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation also helped with the case. The foundation’s president stated the following after the settlement was reached.

“This is a great example for the countless public-sector workers across the country who seek to have their First Amendment rights respected in light of the Foundation’s Janus Supreme Court victory,” foundation president Mark Mix said in a statement.

This is apparently the first case of its kind to be settled after the Supreme Court’s Janus decision, which recognized the right of all public employees to choose not to pay union fees. After years of forcing people to pay union dues or fees, SEIU may soon have to pay a lot more money back.



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