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November 26, 2008

Union members win court date to protest use of dues for political purposes

VANCOUVER

Two union members have won a bid to be heard at B.C. Supreme Court to protest the way the unions spend the money they pay in mandatory union dues on causes that members do not support. Gloria Laurence and Wendy Weis have been named as parties to the case in the unions’ legal challenge against third-party election spending.

“We strongly believe that union dues should be used for collective bargaining purposes only, not for political advertising,” says Laurence, a Special Education Assistant and a member of CUPE. She is joined in this legal bid by Weis, an Integrated Support Teacher and a member of BCTF.

“We want the court to hear our voices in this case, because at the very least, we want to limit how much of our union dues can be spent on political causes.”

In the 2005 election, four B.C. unions spent nearly $3 million trying to get the NDP elected. Four of these unions have launched a legal challenge in B.C. Supreme Court against Bill 42, which limits third parties to spending during provincial elections.

“These two educators are simply standing up for the individual rights of union members to support causes of their own choosing,” says Philip Hochstein, President of the Independent Businesses and Contractors Association.

“It’s time British Columbia’s labour unions stopped using the dues of working men and women to finance their political agenda.”

DCN News Services

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