Feb. 12, 2022

442: How The Fairness Center is Helping Fight Corrupt Public Unions (with Nathan McGrath)

442: How The Fairness Center is Helping Fight Corrupt Public Unions (with Nathan McGrath)

Corrupt public sector unions have met their match...

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Corrupt public sector unions have met their match...


Nathan McGrath returns to the program to speak to how The Fairness Center has had some great wins in recent months as they've fought back against corrupt public-sector unions on behalf of workers seeking to break away from their unions.


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Brian Nichols  0:25  
winning arguments. We're teaching the basic fundamentals of sales and marketing and how we can use them to win in the world of politics, teaching you how to meet people where they're at on the issues they care about. Welcome to The Brian Nichols Show.

Well, happy Friday there, folks, Brian Nichols here on The Brian Nichols Show. And as always, we are in store for another fun filled episode. I am as always your humble host. And today we have our returning guests. From the fairness center, we have the one the only Nathan McGrath, welcome back to The Brian Nichols Show.

Nathan McGrath  1:12  
Thank you so much, Brian, it's great to be back here with you. Absolutely.

Brian Nichols  1:15  
Thank you so much for joining us back here on The Brian Nichols Show, because you have been fighting the good fight over at the fairness center, specifically helping a raise up all of those public sector employees who are trying to fight back against those union bosses. But they just seemingly get stuck in legal loopholes or just unions being unions and not listening to their members. Surprise, surprise. But before we get there, Nathan, we had been growing leaps and bounds here The Brian Nichols Show since you were last year on the program. So lots of new folks who aren't familiar with the fairness center. So how about this, let's reintroduce yourself in the fairness center to the audience into let's talk about some of the great things you guys been doing over there.

Nathan McGrath  1:56  
Yeah, that sounds great. So the fairness center, we're a public interest law firm actually based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, but we operate in Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut. Right now we're representing clients there. And the great thing that we get to do is represent employees, public sector, employees who have been abused or have had their rights trampled by public sector union officials. And often our clients are ones who have a great principled matter, right, a constitutional violation, First Amendment violation, something like that. But the amount of issue isn't a ton, maybe four or five $600. And it would not make any sense for them to go and hire a private sector attorney, and to litigate you know, 50,000 100,000 upwards, federal lawsuit. So we get the pleasure of stepping in for them, offering them high level representation and taking their case as far as it needs to go and saying, You know what, you have a great principle, you're taking a tough stand. And we're going to be your attorneys that help get you there. And guess what, we do it for free, you don't have to pay a dime to us.

Brian Nichols  3:09  
Doing it for free part, I think is one of the parts right there that overcomes one of the major objections that people have whenever they're looking for legal help. And that is a cost so much. I mean, you pick up a phone, you talk to a lawyer for 14 minutes, you get a bill for $6,000. A week later, your average person's a little weary. So it is great to know that we do have a resource here that is free. And it is for those public sector employees who maybe don't have in some cases the the resources available to be able to fight back because a lot of the resources are supposed to be going towards these unions, but rather in this case, it's in many cases they're fighting against the union. So I want to focus on one of the you've been on the show before we talked about this, this this case, hear that the Janis case we've talked about this many a time, and this case has been unfolding. And now we're going forward to it's the lively conversation which I want you to go ahead and tell this story because your your awesome rep there. John, emailed me the overview of what's happening right now and what you guys are doing for it for Mr. Loudly. So let's dig into this case and where the fairness center is helping shine some light on another union just being another corrupt union.

Nathan McGrath  4:21  
Yeah, so interestingly, fun fact open with this the latley case, our clients, Jane gladly and Christopher Meyer, this was actually the first lawsuit that the fairness center filed for clients back in 2014. So what we're here in 2022, right. And the I always tell clients, the wheels of justice usually turned slowly. In this case, they're turning very slowly, but our clients are making progress, which is the exciting part. So just to kind of set the stage for you here in Pennsylvania before the Janis case which just in case people don't know the Janis case was a Supreme Court case. case that came down in 2018. And bottom line of it, it just says that people who aren't members of the Union can't be forced to pay the union anything as a condition of their employment. So that was the Janis case. But before Janice, people who are not members of unions, but were stuck in a bargaining unit represented by a union, could be forced to pay what's called fair share fees as a condition of their employment to the union. So in the union, some, you know, used it for all sorts of stuff, sometimes for collective bargaining. But then, you know, sometimes it went for other things as well. But what the Court held in Janus was that even collective bargaining is political. And so if you think about it, if people are being forced to pay money, by a state actor, for things that are political in nature, they're just inherently political. Well, that is forced political speech. And so the Supreme Court wanted to take care of that. And that's what they did with the Janus decision. But before Janus, we had people who were not members of unions, and they could still be forced to pay fees to these unions. And they were called FareShare fee payers. But some fair share fee, payers didn't just object to paying a union because they just didn't want to pay union and they're being forced to. They objected on religious grounds, because they found out that unions were funding, you know, things that were ideologically opposed to their true, closely held religious beliefs. So, in Pennsylvania, the law made an exception for those people and said, Okay, if you truly are a religious objector, what we'll do is we'll allow you to not have to pay your fair share fee to the Union. But you and the union have to figure out a charity for your fair share fee equivalent to be sent to, and but it didn't say what happened if the union and the religious objector disagreed on what charity it should go to? Well, I'm sure you can imagine this happens, right? And so we had, so that's the backdrop of, of what our client's case started out as. So we have Jane laggardly, who was a public school teacher, and she paid about $435 a year in fair share fees. And, and she actually registered her religious objection with the union and said, I'm just, you know, morally opposed to these things. It's against my religious beliefs, and, and they said, Okay, we accept that. What charity Do you want to send it to? And so she tried two of them actually. The The first one was the Coalition for advocacy, or invite, ah, I forget something of freedom. And the the Union came back and said, Now, that's too political. And we think it may be a little bit religious. And she said, Okay, let me try again. So she then said, What about the constitutional organization of liberty? And they said, no, no, that's too partisan. We won't accept that one either. But you know, we do have this handy list for you, if you want to take a look at what we would recommend? Well, she took a look at the list and said, No, actually, all of these organizations, they rep, they violate my religious beliefs as well. And so it kind of came to a stalemate there. And meanwhile, our our other client, in this case, Christopher Myers, he was going through the same process where he registered his, you know, his request to be considered a religious objector, with the union. And the union said, Okay, we accept that, where do you want to send your money to? And he said, Well, I want to send it to national right to work. And as you might imagine, this kind of bristle the union, and they said, Oh, no, no, you can't send it there, because we're in conflict with them, and they sue us all the time. So that's not a good charitable organization to send it to. So what we had is we had both of our clients who were religious objectors. And they said where they wanted to send their money to, to legitimate charities. And the union said, No, we we will not allow you to send it there. So their problem now is under the law, there was no tiebreaker. There was no way to figure out where should this money go. And the union was holding their money, and they they were holding it in an escrow account. And our clients obviously didn't know what to do, because that they were just at a stalemate, and then that's when they came to us. And what we did was file a lawsuit for them. And we challenged this portion of the fair share fee law saying that it was unconstitutional on its face and as applied because our clients don't have proper due process on this and this is a violation of their constitutional rights and So that's kind of the backdrop. And that's what our client's case was about. And, and that's how we got started on this.

Brian Nichols  10:06  
Wow, it's a lot to unpack there, Nathan. But this is all the stuff that like this is where we need to be having this conversation right now, because this is what's happening behind the scenes. And so many of your average people have no idea that this is what's taking place. And let's, let's be frank, there's probably a lot of people who are public sector employees who are like, that can happen to me what? And that's shocking, I'm sure to half the audience who maybe weren't aware of that. So let's kind of I mean, start off here, because you mentioned Miss Miss Lindley, and what she was able to do in leveraging the the fairness center services, but for your average person, I'm sure it's overwhelming, it's tough for them to, to maybe know, what is the best way to start this off? I mean, goodness, you probably wouldn't want to even, you know, go to a Google search and be overwhelmed with how many millions of searches that don't even have anything to do with what you're actually trying to do in this case, stand against the union. What? So what would you recommend? And I guess, Nathan, is we're looking and you can tell the story here of Ms. Lindley, in terms of how she reached out to you guys, and what were you able to do to help I actually get hurt to have a little bit of footage against this union?

Nathan McGrath  11:17  
Yeah, well, I mean, that that's the sad part, right, our clients who make it to us, they do receive the representation they deserve. And like I said before, for free, but I think there are so many other public employees out there who, you know, they, they just in their gut, they think something's wrong, or the union doesn't represent them well, or union officials are taking advantage of them. And they don't know where to turn, and they just say, you know, I think this is wrong, and the union just goes, Nope, we're just gonna keep doing it. And there's, they have no help, because and because it takes 1000s of dollars to challenge the union in court. A lot of times, they don't even know that their rights have been violated. And so they wouldn't even think of going to court, even if they had the money to do it. And so I think that's why it's so important for, you know, we try to get the word out the best we can. And really, it's a lot of times our clients who are out there advocating for us because they received good service. And so then they go and tell their friends or their bargaining unit, you know, hey, I got help at the fairness center, why don't you contact them? Or, you know, we have a lot of friends who just know about us, like your, your listeners here to the show. They hear about us and what we're doing. They are friends with, say, a public school teacher and municipal worker, and, and they start hearing a story about, yeah, my union did this, or I think that's grievance should should have been filed, but it wasn't, then they can say, hey, there's a law firm that does that, you know, they, they would represent you for free? Why don't you give them a call? And that's kind of how the good word gets spread on those cases.

Brian Nichols  12:54  
Nathan, I'm curious. Cuz I think the last time we had you on the show, we were kind of right at the beginning slash like, we are learning COVID. We're figuring we're trying to figure out how to get used to this kind of new normal. Oh, I hate myself for even saying that. But I'm curious, because you mentioned public school teachers, did you see a lot more of teachers reaching out to you over the past few years in response to what we've seen, with the unions, and in many cases, shutting down schools, I'm thinking specifically as moved from Philadelphia, there was, I think, a week or two where the union was fighting the school district and saying, Yeah, we're not sending our teachers in. And there were some teachers who wanted to still show up, but they weren't allowed to. And I'm sure if there was a situation where they could have reached out and they would have had a resource like the fairness and or they could have at least tried to fight back. So I'm just my mind started to wander a little bit there. Have you guys seen an uptick in cases, specifically with teachers in response to the COVID 19 pandemic?

Nathan McGrath  13:58  
I think we've seen a lot of teachers start to realize maybe the union isn't so much on my side, or maybe, you know, they represent some of the teachers, but they don't represent all the teachers because they don't really take my concerns and considerations, you know, into account and we have seen a number of public school teachers come to us. And one thing that we've seen a number of cases with the Pennsylvania State Education Association here in Pennsylvania is the state affiliate affiliate of the NEA the National Education Association. And what they and their affiliates have been doing is even after Janice, they've been negotiating into collective bargaining agreements, the illegal fair share fee language, which they know they can't collect on, but they've been putting it into contracts anyway, after Janice and we have at least 20 examples of this. And so we've been seeing teachers who have been tried have been looking at that and say like, wait a second, I don't think They could do that. And so they've come to us or they've tried to resign. And what the unions have done has been kind of smart, they've let them out. And they haven't tried to collect it through the employer. But then they'll send these nasty collection letters to them and say, hey, you need to pay us right now, or we're going to take additional action against you. We had one client who by the time he got the letter, they had demanded that he had paid the full amount for the entire school year, you know, seven $700.03 days before he ever got the letter. So I mean, this, this puts these teachers into crisis mode, like oh, my gosh, I'm gonna get sent to collections, what's going to happen to me those types of things, and we've had a number of them come to us. And we've been able to help them out and take care of their cases pretty quickly in that. So that's been one of the kind of the fallouts where a lot of people have been resigning. But unions have been doing some new things to try to collect their money anyway. And actually, there's a independent Teacher Association here in Pennsylvania called Kedah. And I was just talking with their president the other day, and she was telling me that they've almost had their membership double, during COVID, because so many teachers are saying, I want out, I want to be done with this. And then they go to this independent teacher, organization that gives better insurance, better access to attorneys, all these things. But you know, what your dues there, don't go to politics, they don't go to anything other than representing you. And I think that's one of the things that we've really seen, where teachers have started to become pretty independent, say, you know, what, I'm done with this. They're not sticking by me, I'm gonna find a different option. It,

Brian Nichols  16:36  
I think we're getting to the point now where a lot of these issues and I'm just thinking back to the episode I did on Monday, with my marketing consigliere, a Chris Goyzueta. And he, he's really into the NF T's. And you'll these, these blockchain contracts. And I think, where you get to a point where your average new contractual agreement for employment, it's going to be that that, you know, one to one where you have like, no real chance to hide, so if you are a corrupt union, you can't, you can't really be sleazy and, you know, try to hide language to overtly put in language in your contracts to take out money that you're not supposed to just because what are they going to do? And I think that right, there maybe is, the mentality that we don't really focus on a lot is a lot of these unions are big bullies, like they have bullied, you know, in the political arena, they bully a lot of their members who don't toe the line. And I think your average person is really starting to wake up to that. And I think it's a little too late, in some instances, especially in a lot of those really blue cities. And we saw that we're seeing it's still, in many cases, I think Chicago is still shut down in some areas, New York is still having some schools that are intermittently being shut down. So you're seeing it still carry through. So I guess, when we're moving forward here, Nathan, because it's hard to imagine that we are already at this point two years into a COVID pandemic. And I think we are on the upswing, and a lot of the issues that were brought to light during COVID, you know, really have gotten more and more people aware, as you're talking about, you know, noticing these things that they would never have noticed before. Where do you see the conversation going? And where do you see maybe the main issue that teachers are not just necessarily teachers, but we'll say public sector employees, by and large, should be focusing on because for a lot of people listening to the show today, I'm sure they're like, Wow, I don't even know where to start looking. What should I be looking for? That raises alarms, that raises red flags, that I should maybe reach out to someone like the fairness center to start getting some some of these questions answered.

Nathan McGrath  18:43  
Yeah, so let me give you a couple examples of what we're really seeing now. So like I said, COVID, I think has really pulled back the curtain a little bit, and people are starting to see what certain union officials are capable of and what they want to do. And so what I think you're starting to see is a rise in people trying to break free and to find some independence, to have the ability to make some decisions on their own. And we have a whole kind of slew of cases now that have to do not with you know, the the basics of helping people to get out or to stop their money from being deducted past should be which, you know, shocking, but maybe not shocking. And it's now starting to turn towards retaliation by unions for exercising their rights. Because I think unions are starting sometimes getting a little bit shaken about, oh, man, people are starting to realize their rights, and they're starting to make some noise. And so one example we have a client in New York City, and he tried to resign and stop dues payment, and they never recognized his resignation there. But in addition, he actually started working to get rid of their current union, which is the largest union In New York City, because he said, you know, people should have a choice who represents them. And maybe we want a different union, maybe we want to represent ourselves. But you know what, this union definitely isn't doing it for us. So let's try to get them decertified and knocked out, which is his right to do honestly, under the law. And when he did that, he had a union official give like a seven minute ramp with expletives and saying how terrible this guy was, and how he's going to get taken care of those types of things. And he even posted a picture of our client who's African American, shaking the hand of a Ku Klux Klan member, you know, add, like wild stuff like this. And so he came to us and said, man, what's going on, I'm just trying to exercise my rights. So what we ended up doing, we ended up filing a federal case for him on the membership and the dues deductions case. But then we actually looked at his activity where the union was really trying to beat them back on which was, you know, getting rid of them to get replaced by a union that will listen to the concerns of the employee. And, and the, the, you know, basically, the employees would get to choose who represents them. And we looked at that and said, you know, that's wrong, too. And so we filed a board charge for him in New York City. And, you know, I just think the egregious things that these people go through just to exercise their rights.

Brian Nichols  21:21  
Well, here we go here, how about this, folks, it's, it's free to reach out to the fairness center. So if something feels wrong, and you're like, you know what, maybe I just need to go ahead and get another set of eyes on this. It doesn't hurt to reach out. So I mean, I feel kind of like, you know, the early 2000s. Like, if you see something, say something, right, but the anti terrorism approach? Yeah. Hey, you know, what, if something feels wrong, and you're like, that doesn't that doesn't seem right. It doesn't need to be wrong. If it doesn't seem right, then just ask the question, it doesn't hurt to ask the question, especially if this is where your money's going. I think people are starting to realize more and more, especially as we're watching what's happening here over the past two years that you gotta gotta focus out for yourself, if you're not paying attention to you know, your own self, how quickly things can change, and just be ripped away. So with that being said, we want to make sure we have a positive call to action, Nathan, I don't want people to be all downtrodden and depressed. So let's, let's go ahead and aim towards some positives here. Let's go ahead and focus on the future. So obviously, the the fairness center, you guys are helping people left and right. And I cannot thank you enough. What exciting things do you have in store here over the next five years? Let's say do you see growth plans for the center? Or am I putting the cart before the horse number one? And number two? where can folks if they want to continue the conversation? Go ahead and support the ferret center? But also go ahead and follow you?

Nathan McGrath  22:45  
Yeah, I mean, I think our our mission allows us to expand to where people need us. And so we're in Pennsylvania and New York and Connecticut right now, I think we'd be open to some other places, once we see the right opportunities present themselves there. You know, people need our help people need legal representation. You know, they always say the courts are supposed to be accessible to the people, a lot of times it's they're not, they just frankly, not because the amount of money it takes to do the type of cases we do, which is complex, high level litigation, you know, the attorneys we go against with the union's, they, they charge, like anywhere from 500 to $1,000 an hour, I've seen their billing records. And so for the normal person to get someone of the equal quality and caliber to go against them, that they can't do it. And so I think the need for our firm is greater than ever. And I think we want to go to where the people need us. And so I think that is definitely on the radar. They, you know, your listeners can check out our website as fairness center.org. We have, you know, case videos and stories and case pages with documents, news articles. In fact, in one of our cases from New York City, it's called the Goldstein case. He was our lead. Plaintiff Avraham Goldstein was actually just featured in Wall Street Journal op ed, telling his story about trying to get away from the union and you know, what's, what's going on there? So I mean, our websites just, uh, there's so much great information there. And you can get educated about us and what we're doing and you know, like you're saying, if you if you just feel something's off or you just want you know, someone to take a look at your situation, feel free to call us get in touch with us, and we'd love to talk that through with you.

Brian Nichols  24:30  
And boy, oh, boy, have things really been growing. Because let's see, I think I had David Osborne on the show for it was my first guy from the fairness center right way back in 2018. That was back with Connor when he got when he was with you guys. So let's see since then, you have grown. I think you've tripled in size technically, because I think it started out as just one state. So hey, if we're on the right track in the next four years, you guys will at least be in we'll say six states or so. But again, I might be putting the cart before the horse we'll see I'm sure Nathan will continue this conversation as we, as we have been here on the show because you're always bringing a lot of valuable insights specifically as we're talking about, yes, a very real issue a lot of public sector employees are facing. So that being said, Folks, I will make it as easy as possible for you to go ahead and learn more about the fairness center. All you have to do go to your podcast catcher, click the artwork there, it'll bring you right to Brian Nichols show.com, where you'll find today's episode, all the links included as well as the entire transcript for today's episode as well as all ballpark 240 Other I'm sorry, no. 440 I almost gave myself less than 200 extra episodes. Yes, for 140 episodes. My brain is exploding at this point. So many different episodes. But hey, it's for you guys, because you are getting the value and with great conversations like Nathan, I daresay we're gonna keep it up. So with that being said, Nathan McGrath, the fairness Center, thank you for joining us on today's episode of The Brian Nichols Show.

Nathan McGrath  25:53  
Thank you, Brian.


Transcribed by https://otter.ai