ON-Lion Letter

The Freedom Foundation cut the ribbon on its new Salem, Ore., office in mid-August and, within an hour, its general counsel James Abernathy announced that it had filed a lawsuit against SEIU Local 503 and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown.  The suit alleges that the union -- with the state's blessing -- continues to deduct dues and representation fees from individual home-care workers a year after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled such "schemes" unconstitutional in Harris v. Quinn.

"SEIU 503 doesn't let a little thing like the Constitution stand in between it and its money," Abernathy said.

The suit was filed on behalf of Bend resident Julian Brown, who receives a Medicaid subsidy for caring for his father.  Brown never wanted to be a union member and opted out of the union in 2014 following Harris, but the union continued its efforts to deduct his dues involuntarily.

"It should be common sense in this country that a private organization cannot force you to pay for its activities unless you choose to do so," according to Abernathy.

The suit is similar to litigation that the Freedom Foundation has filed for caregivers in Washington State, where it also has an office.

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee substantially supports the Freedom Foundation.

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