Non-Union Employees File Class Action Against SEIUMichael Lipkin of Law360 ($$) writes that late last week, a group of non-union California civil servants filed a putative class action against the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).  In pertinent part, the suit alleges that the SEIU has been illegally deducting money for political activities from employees’ wages unless those employee affirmatively opt out.  Such an action, the suit continues, constitutes prior restraint. 

"The state and Local 1000 have structured employee choice on union fee payments in such a way as to make it more difficult for employees to retain their political autonomy than it is for employees to forfeit their money to Local 1000 for its political purposes,” the complaint said.

The SEIU apparently sent out "opt-out" letters in June of last year, but not all plaintiffs received those letters.  The plaintiffs further argue that the opt-out process is cumbersome because any employee choosing to opt-out must send a written notice to their local SEIU each year.  We will be watching this suit and will keep you posted as it moves forward.

UAW Pushing To Gain Foothold At Mercedes Plant in AL:  Pat Duggins of APR.org writes that the United Auto Workers (UAW) has been attempting to organize employees at a Mercedes Benz plant in Tuscaloosa, AL for approximately a year.  The organizing campaign can readily be described a bumpy ride, with the most recent hiccup being a slew of unfair labor practice charges the UAW has filed against the automaker.  In particular, the UAW alleges that Mercedes has engaged in intimidation tactics and unlawful surveillance during lawful organizing activities.

The National Labor Relations Board dismissed one charge against the company, but found that two other charges could go forward.  We will let you know how the hearing turns out.

Portland School Administrators Prepare For Possible Teachers StrikeNicole Dungca of the Oregonian writes that administrators for Portland Public Schools are working hard to bring in substitute teachers should Portland school teachers go on strike.  Interestingly, the union representing Portland’s teachers has also accused the school district of unfairly pressuring the substitutes to commit to crossing the union picket line.  To make a difficult situation even more uncertain, the substitutes are represented by their own union branch, making it less likely that a sufficient number of them would be willing to teach should a strike actually take place. 

Please continue to follow us here at the blog, via Twitter (@LRToday), or via Flipboard for further developments.