Friedrichs vs. California Teachers Association
Highlights (or lowlights)
- An elected union must represent all members within a bargaining unit even if some members choose not to join the union
- To prevent “free riders” the United States Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision that unions may charge “agency fees” to non-union members. This is to subsidize to cost of representation. Since everyone benefits from union negotiations it is fair to charge “all” members a fee. (Abood v. Detriot Board of Education 1977)
- Friedrichs disagrees. The lawsuit claims that it is a violation of her first amendment rights to be forced to pay dues and have someone speak on their behalf.
- Prior to the case being heard, it was believed that the Supreme Court would decide 5-4 in her favor. This would cause union dues to be paid on a voluntary basis.
- If enough members choose not to contribute their dues, the union and its contract become null and void.
- 51% of a bargaining unit must contribute for a union to be recognized. Less than that and it no longer exists.
- Recently Justice Antonin Scalia passed away. The case is in flux.
- If the president is allowed to appoint a new Justice, the scales could tip back in our favor.
- If the senate blocks the appointment and a republican takes office we could see the scales revert back to the 5-4 against unions.
- This case is being backed by wealthy corporations such as; Koch Brothers, American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and Center for Individual Rights looking to break unions across the country.
- We must stay strong. Educate our members of the benefits of union membership and to be aware of the attack we face on all sides.