SUPREME COURT RULING: Public Employee Unions Can Still Collect Mandatory Union Fees

Teacher Protests outside the Supreme Court during oral arguments of the California Teacher's Union case.
Teacher Protests outside the Supreme Court during oral arguments of the California Teacher’s Union case.

The Supreme Court held in a 4 – 4 Split decision (there are currently only 8 justices until a new 9th Justice is confirmed by the Senate Judiciary Committee), that the State of California Teacher’s Union can collect mandatory union fees from its teachers – public employees.  The Court below, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, ruled that the California Teacher’s Union can use its current system to collect mandatory union fees from California teachers.  Without a majority of the court overruling the decision, the lower court’s ruling stands and the current union fee collecting system remains in place.  Huffington Post article:  Labor Unions Dodge A Bullet at Supreme Court

The Case, Friedrich v. California Teacher’s Union, a group of teachers argued that being forced to pay their “fair share” fee to cover the costs of collective bargaining and fund the union/union reps, violated their First Amendment Rights.  Specifically, the teachers argued that since the union was inherently political, it violated the teacher’s freedom of politics/association provision of the First Amendment.

Many states currently require public employees to pay mandatory union dues, often referred to as “fair share” dues, even if the employees want to opt out or remain independent from the union.  Many unions do not allow them the option, and thus, they must pay the union dues.

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