580 N.E.2d 534 (Ohio Co. 1990), 89 CVI 412, Jefferson Area Teachers Assn. v. Nasca

Docket Nº:89 CVI 412.
Citation:580 N.E.2d 534, 61 Ohio Misc.2d 534
Opinion Judge:GARY L. YOST, Judge.
Party Name:JEFFERSON AREA TEACHERS ASSOCIATION v. NASCA.
Attorney:Ira J. Mirkin, Youngstown, for plaintiff. Ritch Nasca, pro se.
Case Date:March 12, 1990
Court:County Court of Ohio
 
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Page 534

580 N.E.2d 534 (Ohio Co. 1990)

61 Ohio Misc.2d 534

JEFFERSON AREA TEACHERS ASSOCIATION

v.

NASCA.

No. 89 CVI 412.

Ashtabula County Court of Ohio.

March 12, 1990

Page 535

[61 Ohio Misc.2d 536] Syllabus by the Court

1. In a small claims action to collect "fair share" fees, the plaintiff union is required to establish a constitutionally adequate procedure for protection of nonunion members' First Amendment rights as an element of its case.

2. Just as the plaintiff union must demonstrate compliance with constitutional procedure as a precondition to prevailing in a collection action, the nonunion member must show that he affirmatively objected in a timely manner and in accordance with the designated procedure, Before he can assert the ideological nature of any portion of the fees as a defense to the collection action.

Ira J. Mirkin, Youngstown, for plaintiff.

Ritch Nasca, pro se.

GARY L. YOST, Judge.

This case came on to be heard on March 1, 1990. Plaintiff was represented by Attorney Ira J. Mirkin. Defendant was not represented. This case involves a small claims complaint by plaintiff to collect "fair share" fees for [61 Ohio Misc.2d 537] the 1988-1989 academic year. The court received the testimony of Catherine Ondrejovich, Treasurer of the Jefferson Area Teachers Association, Peggy Chavez, local representative of the Ohio Education Association, the defendant, Ritch Nasca, the exhibits and the arguments of the parties.

Facts

The court finds that there is no substantial dispute as to the material facts. Defendant was employed as a teacher at Jefferson Area High School during the 1988-1989 school year. He is not a member of the plaintiff union. Plaintiff is the sole and exclusive bargaining agent for the bargaining unit which includes teachers employed by the Jefferson Area Local Board of Education. Defendant is a member of the bargaining unit represented by plaintiff and is therefore subject to the Master Agreement between plaintiff and the Jefferson Area Local Board of Education. The Master Agreement contains an "agency shop" provision which requires nonunion members of the bargaining unit to pay a "fair share" or "service fee" to plaintiff in consideration of its costs incurred on their behalf in negotiating and administering the collective bargaining agreement.

During the 1988-1989 academic year there was no provision for payment of the service fee through mandatory payroll deduction. Defendant has not paid any part of the fee for the 1988-1989 school year. Pursuant to the contract between plaintiff and the school board, the amount of the service fee is equivalent to the amount of dues charged to union members. However, plaintiff has a formalized procedure or plan whereby nonmembers may object to payment of the service fee. Upon timely objection, a nonunion member takes part in a procedure intended to determine the proportion of the service fee legitimately related to the negotiation and administration of the collective bargaining agreement. Defendant has not made any formal objection to the service fee for the 1988-1989 school year. However, defendant did invoke the objection procedure for the 1987-1988 and 1989-1990 academic years.

The plan or procedure employed by plaintiff for consideration and determination of objections by nonmembers during the 1988-1989 school year was known as the...

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