from the Albuquerque Journal:

A state employee has filed a class-action lawsuit alleging New Mexico and a labor union violated his constitutional rights by deducting union fees from his paycheck over his objection, even after a landmark Supreme Court decision.

David McCutcheon, an information technology technician, is asking a federal court to strike down what he describes as an illegal scheme to collect union fees or dues from employees as a condition of employment. …

McCutcheon is asking the U.S. District Court in New Mexico to declare that the defendants’ “practices of forcing (employees) to pay fees to fund union activity of any kind violate the First Amendment” and are “an illegal conversion of their property.”

Furthermore, the lawsuit alleges, the union’s contract with the state government severely limits the opportunity for employees to revoke their permission for fee deductions. Employees have only two weeks each year in which to withdraw, a system that should be struck down, the suit says.

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, a nonprofit advocacy group, is providing free legal help to McCutcheon.

“Contrary to the wishes of New Mexico union bosses and their allies in state government, First Amendment rights cannot be limited to just a couple of weeks per year,” the group’s president, Mark Mix, said in a written statement. “All civil servants should be able to exercise their rights to free speech and free association by cutting off union payments whenever they choose without interference by union officials.”

A decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in late June shook up the legal landscape for union fees. …

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