(The Center Square) – An Ohio public school employee says his union locked him into paying dues for an entire school year against his will.
Richard Koch, a bus driver for the system, believes the Ohio Association of Public School Employees union is arbitrarily restricting time for employees to cut off paying union dues to less than 3% of the year, according to the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.
The foundation is representing Koch in litigation for free.
Koch, who is not a union member, filed charges with the Ohio State Employee Relations Board, saying the union has unlawfully locked him into an entire school year union dues deduction against his will.
“Mr. Koch’s case shows that OAPSE union officials don’t even pretend to care about the rights of workers who disagree with them and will readily violate those rights if it means the union can fill its coffers with more of those employees’ money,” National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix said. “Beyond blatantly violating Ohio law, OAPSE union officials are also ignoring the U.S. Supreme Court’s First Amendment command in the Janus v. AFSCME decision that union officials can only take union dues from workers who have affirmatively consented to support the union.”
The foundation also argues the union deliberately concealed the dates when Koch could cut off dues and did not tell the school system to stop taking money from his paycheck even though they knew he wanted to stop paying. Both, the foundation says, are violations of state law.
The foundation says that after the 2022-23 school year began, OAPSE union officials continued to take full union dues from his wages. Koch questioned school officials about why dues deductions were continuing despite his resignation. In October 2022, five months after he sent his union resignation letter, a school administrator forwarded Koch an email from OAPSE representative John Horn explaining union dues revocation requests are only accepted within a narrow 10-day window each year.
The union did not respond to a request for comment from The Center Square.
Koch wants union dues deductions from his paycheck to stop and have the union to return all dues taken since his resignation.