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Five Ohio public employees appeal to stop paying union dues

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(The Center Square) – Five Ohio public employees appealed a ruling that allowed union dues to be taken from their paychecks for months.

A lower court ruling said the issue is an unfair labor practice, giving jurisdiction to the State Employment Relations Board rather than a court.

“Ohio Supreme Court precedent has given common pleas courts jurisdiction to decide private contractual disputes like the ones presented in Darling v. AFSCME,” said Jay R. Carson, senior litigator at The Buckeye Institute and the lead attorney representing the plaintiffs. “In fact, the unions themselves have insisted that the payment of dues is a private contract between the union and its members. We hold the unions to that representation and demand that The Buckeye Institute’s clients get their day in court.”

The Buckeye Institute is a Columbus-based policy group.

As previously reported by The Center Square, the original lawsuit covered 10 employees. Five won victories in the case, according to The Buckeye Institute, while five others did not. They include:

• Chelsea Kolacki, of Toledo, an office assistant for the Maumee City School District. She was a member of the Ohio Association of Public School Employees before she resigned Sept. 24, 2020.

• Kristy Kolacki, also of Toledo, is a secretary for the Maumee City School District. She was a member of OAPSE before she resigned Sept. 24, 2020.

• Laura Langsdale, of Akron, is a custodian for the Springfield Local School District. She was a member of OAPSE before she resigned Oct. 20, 2020.

• Ronnie Legg, of Galloway, is a Columbus City School District driver. He was a member of OAPSE before he resigned Aug. 20, 2020.

• Stephen Tulga, of Columbus, is a bus driver for the Upper Arlington City School District. He was a member of OAPSE before he resigned May 6, 2021.

The union says the five signed a contract that authorized the union to continue to deduct dues from their paychecks.

“Ohio’s law simply does not allow this unethical practice, and it is time for the court to tell the unions and the government to stop illegally taking money from workers’ paychecks,” Carson said.

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