September 11, 2015

Opening salvos in the teacher union dues case

By Deborah J. La Fetra Senior Attorney

The briefing in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association is underway. You’ll recall that this Supreme Court case presents the issue of whether public employee unions can garnish the wages of non-union members to support the unions’ collective bargaining and other political activities, without those workers’ consent. Rebecca Friedrichs and her fellow teachers filed their opening brief on the merits last week, and PLF—joined by Linda Chavez and Clayton Trotter—filed an amicus brief today. The brief details how politicking pervades the unions’ agendas, through collective bargaining, to lobbying, to active participation in elections.

The unions clearly are nervous about this case, sponsoring legislation in Sacramento to promote union representation, and considering other methods of increasing membership if they are no longer permitted to use coercion. It’s about time the unions started thinking about how to attract members, yet it’s reflective of the union mindset that they lobby for special advantages not enjoyed by other voluntary associations. Maybe if the union leadership actually reflected the goals and priorities of the membership, it would not face such dramatic declines in membership when the unions can no longer garnish workers’ wages. Here’s hoping the Supreme Court forces the issue.

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