While Jody Lutter, Lisa Grega and Michael Kopie may have drastically different occupations, they are all facing the same problem; window periods that limit their ability to opt out of their union.
In May 2018, New Jersey passed the “Workplace Democracy Enhancement Act”, a misleadingly titled law that restricts a union member’s ability to opt out of their union to a short “window” period of “10 days following each anniversary date”. This law was enacted a month before the Supreme Court’s Janus v AFSCME decision in an attempt to make it harder for union members to exercise their right of choice.
On June 7th, 2019, the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation filed suit against the International federation of Professional and Technical Engineers AFL-CIO Local 195, the Council of New Jersey State College Locals AFT/AFL-CIO Local 2364, and JNESO. This suit was filed on behalf of three New Jersey Public Workers; Jody Lutter, a nurse in Essex County, Lisa Grega, an employee of The College of New Jersey, and Michael Kopie, an employee of New Jersey’s Department of Transportation. All three have attempted to leave their union, but were blocked by the Workplace Democracy Enhancement Act.
“For 37 years, New Jersey public employees were trusted with the right to resign at any time,” said Patrick Wright, vice president for legal affairs at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy and Mackinac Center Legal Foundation. “Then, a 10-day a year resignation limit was imposed to frustrate those employees’ First Amendment rights. This is unconstitutional.”
All three clients are hoping to opt out of their union and to have dues that were taken from them after they tried to opt out refunded.