United States District Court, D. Oregon, Portland Division
LORIANN ANDERSON, KERRIN FISCUS, KENNETH HILL, RENE LAYTON, MICHAEL MILLER, BERNARD PERKINS, DENNIS RICHEY, KATHIE SIMMONS, KENT WILES, and MELINDA WILTSE, as individuals and representatives of the respective requested classes, Plaintiffs,
SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION (SEIU) LOCAL 503, OREGON PUBLIC EMPLOYEES UNION (OPEU); OREGON AFSCME COUNCIL 75, labor organizations; KATY COBA, in her official capacity as Director of the Oregon Department of Administrative Services; JACKSON COUNTY, LANE COUNTY, MARION COUNTY, WALLOWA COUNTY, CITY OF PORTLAND, political subdivisions of the State of Oregon; WESTERN OREGON UNIVERSITY, a public higher educational institution; NORTHWEST SENIOR & DISABILITY SERVICES, a local intergovernmental agency, Defendants.
OPINION & ORDER
A. HERNÁNDEZ UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss for failure to
state a claim . For the reasons that follow,
Defendants' motion is granted, and Plaintiffs' case
are ten individuals employed by state or local government
entities in Oregon. Compl. ¶¶ 2, 12-21. Each
Plaintiff is in a bargaining unit represented by at least one
of the union defendants or its affiliates. Id.
¶¶ 2, 12-21. Before the Supreme Court's
decision in Janus v. AFSCME, Counsel 31, 138 S.Ct.
2448, 2486 (2018), Plaintiffs signed agreements to join their
respective unions. Id. ¶ 2. Each agreement
included a “maintenance of membership” provision.
Id. ¶¶ 4, 65, 67. This provision
authorized the payment of union dues and was irrevocable for
a period of at least one year. Id. As explained by
Defendants, the provision authorized the deduction of union
dues-or an amount equivalent to union dues-from
Plaintiffs' wages “for a one-year period, and from
year to year thereafter, unless revoked during an annual
window period, regardless of whether the Plaintiff[s] later
resigned from union membership.” Defs. Mot. 4, ECF 24.
the Court's decision in Janus, Plaintiffs resigned their
union memberships and revoked the authorization for deduction
of union dues from their wages. Compl. ¶¶ 32, 35,
38, 42, 45, 49, 52, 55, 59, 62. The unions processed the
resignations, and Plaintiffs are no longer union members.
Id. ¶¶ 33, 36, 39, 43, 46, 50, 53, 56, 60,
63. However, because each Plaintiff resigned from membership
before the end of the annual window period, Defendants
continued to deduct payment from Plaintiffs' wages.
Id. ¶¶ 4, 70. The unions informed each
Plaintiff that these deductions would automatically terminate
at the end of the one-year deduction commitment period.
Id. ¶¶ 33, 36, 39, 43, 46, 50, 53, 56, 60,
bring a single cause of action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Defendants now move to dismiss the complaint for failure to
state a claim.
motion to dismiss, the court must review the sufficiency of
the complaint. Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236
(1974). A complaint is construed in favor of the plaintiff,
and its factual allegations are taken as true.
Daniels-Hall v. Nat'l Educ. Ass'n,
629 F.3d 992, 998 (9th Cir. 2010). “[F]or a complaint
to survive a motion to dismiss, the non-conclusory factual
content, and reasonable inferences from that content, must be
plausibly suggestive of a claim entitling the plaintiff to
relief.” Moss v. United States Secret Serv.,
572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks
omitted). “A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). “[O]nce a claim
has been stated adequately, it may be supported by showing
any set of facts consistent with the allegations in the
complaint.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 563 (2007). The court,
however, need “not assume the truth of legal
conclusions merely because they are cast in the form of
factual allegations.” Id. “[A]
plaintiff's obligation to provide the ‘grounds'
of his ‘entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than
labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action will not do . . .”
Id. at 555.
bring a single claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging
Each Defendant's maintenance and enforcement of its dues
checkoff and maintenance of membership provisions and
restrictive revocation policies and continued deduction and
collection of union dues/fees from the wages of Plaintiffs
and class members, pursuant to ORS 243.776 and ORS
292.055(3), without the affirmative authorization and knowing
waiver of their First Amendment rights violates
Plaintiffs' and class members' First Amendment rights
to free speech and association[.]
¶ 85. In other words, Plaintiffs allege that Defendants
violate their First Amendment rights to not subsidize union
speech through (a) the “Union Defendants'
restrictive revocation policies; (b) the public employer
Defendants' continued dues deductions; and (c) the Union
Defendants' collection of union dues from Plaintiffs . .
. without their consent.” Pls. Resp. 3, ECF 53.
extent that Plaintiffs challenge Defendants'
“revocation policies” and “continued dues
deduction” (under these policies), this challenge lacks
merit. See Fisk v. Inslee, 759 Fed.Appx. 632, 633
(9th Cir. 2019) (“Appellees' deduction of union
dues in accordance with the membership cards' dues
irrevocability provision does not violate Appellants'
First Amendment rights. Although Appellants resigned their
membership in the union and objected to providing continued
financial support, the First Amendment does not preclude the
enforcement of ‘legal obligations' that are
bargained-for and ‘self-imposed' under state
contract law.”) (quoting Cohen v. Cowles Media
Co., 501 U.S. 663, 668-71 (1991)).
Plaintiffs also argue that Defendants violate the First
Amendment by collecting union dues without consent. In other
words, Plaintiffs appear to argue that the underlying
membership agreement violates Plaintiffs' First Amendment
rights because it lacks the “waiver” Plaintiffs
allege is necessary under Janus. This argument is also
without merit. The membership agreement here does not
compel involuntary dues deductions and does not violate the
First Amendment. See Belgau v. Inslee, 359 F.Supp.3d
1000, 1016 (W.D. Wash. 2019). All deductions of dues from
Plaintiffs' pay are made pursuant to Plaintiffs'
explicit written consent in the membership agreements. The
parties do not dispute that Plaintiffs signed the membership
agreements and that they did not need to do so as a condition
of their employment. Plaintiffs could have declined to join
the union and paid agency fees instead. In reaching this
conclusion, the Court follows the district courts in this
circuit that have addressed this issued. See, e.g., Belgau,
359 F.Supp.3d at 1016 (same); Cooley v. Cal. Statewide
Law Enf't Ass'n., No. 2:18-cv-02961-JAM-AC, 2019
WL 2994502, at *2 (E.D. Cal. July 9, 2019) (“Mr.
Cooley's contractual dues payments to the Union were in
no part compulsory.”); Smith v. Bieker, No.