L.A. Teacher Sues Union, School District Over Deducted Dues

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A teacher is suing the Los Angeles Unified School District and the teachers union in federal court, accusing the union of illegally deducting dues from her paycheck despite a Supreme Court decision prohibiting public-sector unions from collecting such funds without consent. 

Irene Seager is seeking class-action status for the lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday in Los Angeles federal court. 

A message left with United Teachers Los Angeles requesting comment was not immediately returned. LAUSD responded in a statement that the district should not be party to the complaint because UTLA ``is the custodian of the documents relating to membership.''

The school district said UTLA ``tells us whether the employee is a member and should have the dues deducted. This dispute is between UTLA and its member.''According to the lawsuit, the union contends Seager can only revoke authorization for dues deductions during a 30-day annual period. Seager, who teaches at Porter Ranch Community School, alleges she was essentially forced to sign a dues authorization card in April as a condition of employment. 

In June of last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that teachers and other public employees in California and elsewhere could not be forced to pay union dues or fees. 

Thousands of LAUSD teachers and students returned to class Wednesday, following a teachers strike that stretched over six school days.

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