'Defending my rights': Musician sues orchestra over 'illegal demand'

(Image by Kotaro-Studio from Pixabay)
(Image by Kotaro-Studio from Pixabay)

A musician in Pennsylvania has filed a lawsuit against the Allentown Symphony Association because it suspended him for refusing to pay union dues.

The case, reported by the Washington Free Beacon, charges that the musical organization cannot require the dues payments because it has access to federal funding.

And that, the case brought by timpanist Glen Wilkofsky charges, makes the situation subject to the Supreme Court’s 2018 ruling in Janus v. AFSCME, which held that forced union membership for public sector employees violates the First Amendment.

That’s because it forces them to support unions’ political agendas, with their money, whether they share that agenda or not.

The report said the symphony’s acceptance of government money makes it a public entity under state law.

The report explained the bias that the union’s politics already show, with 98% of the $259,000 in spending on federal candidates since 2016 going to Democrats only.

The Free Beacon explained, “Wilkofsky’s claims center on Pennsylvania’s definition of a public employer, which includes entities that receive ‘grants or appropriations from local, State, or Federal governments.’ The orchestra confirmed to a local newspaper that it receives government funds but would not specify how much.”

Wilkofsky has refused to pay dues demanded by the American Federation of Musicians Local 45.

Then the orchestra said he was suspended until he resumed payments to the political entity.

“This isn’t about money and never was. After hotel and traveling expenses I rarely broke even. It was about my love for music and performing. Now, it’s about defending my rights,” he said.

The union wouldn’t comment, but the report pointed out that a favorable ruling for Wilkofsky would vastly expand the definition of public employer in the state, which does not have a right-to-work law so allows employers to order their workers to make payments to a union.

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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.

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