Lawsuit: Police Officers’ Right to Work


A press release sent out yesterday by Gio Cicione, chairman of the Stephen Hopkins Center for Civil Rights seems like an important development:

Five part-time police officers in Westerly, RI, have filed a Civil Rights lawsuit against the Town of Westerly, several town officials, and International Brotherhood of Police Officers Local 503 in U.S. District Court.

The plaintiffs are receiving free legal aid from the National Right to Work Foundation and lead local counsel is being provided by the Stephen Hopkins Center for Civil Rights.

Thomas Cimalore, Anthony Falcone, Scott Ferrigno, Darrell Koza, and Raymond Morrone brought the suit and seek declaratory, injunctive, and monetary relief because a portion of every paycheck (at a rate of $5 an hour, or 13% of their pay) is being confiscated by the town and paid directly to Local 503.

The lawsuit alleges that the plaintiffs’ First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights (and other state labor and whistle blower protection statues) are violated when they are forced, as a condition of employment, to financially support Local 503 despite not being members, receiving no benefits from the union, and never authorizing or requesting that the town withhold a portion of their paycheck and distribute those funds to Local 503.

The complaint alleges attempts by the Town to stifle their objections, retaliate by diminishing hours and pay, and forcing at least one officer out completely.

“The union bosses and the bureaucrats have worked in concert to take money directly from these hardworking part-time police officers in order to subsidize the union,” said Giovanni D. Cicione, Chairman of the Stephen Hopkins Center for Civil Rights and lead counsel on the cases.

“The unions can’t afford to keep the empty promises they’ve made to their workers – we’ve seen this throughout Rhode Island with non-existent pension funds, economic stagnation, and fleeing businesses,” continued Cicione.  “It’s time someone really stood up for the workers who are the backbone of our communities and our economies – the union bosses seem to have forgotten how to do that, but the Hopkins Center is happy to step in and defend what’s right.”

Labor unions are part of the Rhode Island establishment that seems to believe that nothing should be allowed to happen in the state with their explicit or implied consent.  That’s not freedom, and it’s not good for Rhode Islanders.