A state employment board has filed a complaint against Santa Clara County's largest employee union for refusing to honor a Valley Medical Center pharmacist's right to refrain from paying full dues.
The case stems from an unfair practice charge that Jeffrey Lum filed against the Service Employees International Union Local 521 on June 29 for forcing him to pay full union dues.
Lum, 32, of Cupertino, is being represented by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, and could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Foundation spokesman Anthony Riedel said Lum's request to no longer be a full-dues paying union member is legal, as is his right to ask that his dues not be used for union activities like political activisim, lobbying and member-only events.
The California Public Employment Relations Board investigated and found merit to Lum's charge, and last week filed a complaint against the SEIU, Reidel said.
The union, which has 9,383 members, has 20 days to respond.
Lum a registered Republican since 1998, has worked since 2005 as a VMC pharmacist, and about $141 in monthly dues are deducted from his paycheck.
A spokeswoman for SEIU Local 521 said the union is reviewing the matter and will be responding to the state employment board.
On Nov. 28, 2011, Lum asked to resign from the union and sent a letter to the SEIU notifying its leaders of his decision.
Under state law, workers can refrain from formal
Over the years, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that union members such as Lum who don't want to belong to a union cannot be required to pay union dues spent for union political or lobbying activities.
The state employment relations board is a quasi-judicial agency that administers the collective bargaining statutes covering California public employees, including cities, counties and special districts.
SEIU Local 521 officials acknowledged Lum's resignation letter but Riedel said the union continues to extract full union dues from his paychecks, saying Lum's resignation from formal union membership didn't meet the union's criteria.
Lum is seeking not only the union's acknowledgment that he is no longer a formal member, but also an independently-audited breakdown of union expenditures, and a partial refund of his union dues retroactive since January. He's also asked that notices be posted at work informing other workers of their right to refrain from union membership.
Contact Tracy Seipel at 408 275-0140.