Kaiser Permanente employees in Seattle allege union illegally charges nonmembers for organizing expenses: 5 things to know

Employees at Kaiser Permanente's Capitol Hill Campus in Seattle have filed federal unfair labor practice charges against the Service Employees International Union 1199 NW over union dues for nonunion members, according to the employees' attorneys.

Here are five things to know:

1. Sarina Forbes and Susan Rahn, who are not union members, filed the charges with the regional office of the National Labor Relations Board..

2. The charges claim the union is violating the rights of nonunion members by requiring they annually renew objections to paying full union dues, according to National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and Freedom Foundation attorneys, who are representing the employees. The attorneys said Washington law does not bar unions from requiring nonmembers to pay some union fees to remain employed. But they note a caveat: Unions can't require nonmembers to pay union officials for political action, lobbying, organizing or other activities unrelated to union bargaining. Employees also claim union officials are unlawfully requiring nonmembers to annually renew their objections to paying full union dues.

3. Ms. Forbes and Ms. Rahn also claim the union is illegally charging them and other nonunion members for organizing expenses. That includes spending on organizing employees in other bargaining units and industries.

4. National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix said of the claims: "[Ms.] Forbes and [Ms.] Rahn both chose to hold SEIU officials accountable for their … demands on their hard-earned money." He said the case also "underscores the need for Washington to pass a Right to Work law making union affiliation and financial support completely voluntary."

5. Becker's Hospital Review reached out to the union for comment and will post details as they are available.


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