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State sues public employee union over dues payments

Alaska Attorney General Kevin Clarkson testifies before state senators during a confirmation hearing on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019, in Juneau, Alaska. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – Alaska’s attorney general has sued the state’s largest public employee union.

The Juneau Empire reports the lawsuit says the Alaska State Employees Association violates members’ rights to freedom of speech because it makes political statements but limits opportunities to opt out of dues.

ASEA executive director Jake Metcalfe says the state’s system for deducting union dues previously had been found to be legally sound under former Gov. Bill Walker.

Metcalfe characterizes Attorney General Kevin Clarkson’s tactics as “bullying” and says Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration is doing anything it can to make it harder for people to join unions.

Clarkson last month issued a legal opinion stating that the state was not in compliance with a U.S. Supreme Court decision on how state and municipal employee union fees can be collected.

Information from: Juneau (Alaska) Empire, http://www.juneauempire.com

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