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Supreme Court Splits 4-4 on Major Union Case -- Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association - Podcast

Labor & Employment Law Practice Group Podcast
Richard A. Epstein March 29, 2016

On Tuesday, March 29, the U.S. Supreme Court announced a 4-4 decision in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association. The two questions presented were: (1) Whether the Abood precedent should be overruled and public-sector “agency shop” arrangements invalidated under the First Amendment; and (2) whether it violates the First Amendment to require that public employees affirmatively object to subsidizing nonchargeable speech by public-sector unions, rather than requiring that employees affirmatively consent to subsidizing such speech. What is the effect of the 4-4 decision? Are there other cases percolating in the circuit courts that might present the same or similar questions to the Court in the near future?

Featuring:

  • Prof. Richard A. Epstein, Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law, New York University School of Law

Changes in Markets and Foreign Competitors?

Short Video with Richard Epstein
Richard A. Epstein January 29, 2016

Professor Richard Epstein, Professor of Law at NYU School of Law, continues to give an brief history of unions and collective bargaining -- focusing on changes in markets resulting from globalization and discussing the instance of unions in the Japanese automobile industry.

Labor Unions: History of Unions and Collective Bargaining

Short Video with Richard Epstein
Richard A. Epstein January 29, 2016

Professor Richard Epstein, Professor of Law at NYU School of Law, gives a brief history of unions and collective bargaining - beginning with the New Deal and the industrial age and running through some of the changes in our economy over the last 80 years.

Free Rider or Free to Speak: Arguments Heard in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association - Podcast

Labor & Employment Law Practice Group Podcast
William Messenger January 11, 2016

In Friedrichs, the Court will consider whether to overrule Abood v. Detroit Board of Education (1977), which held that public employees can be compelled to financially support union collective-bargaining with government, but not union political activities. The Court’s grant of certiorari in Friedrichs came on the one-year anniversary of its decision in Harris v. Quinn, where the Court criticized Abood’s rationales, but did not overrule Abood. Unlike Harris, Friedrichs squarely presents the issue decided in Abood—whether public school teachers can be required to pay compulsory union fees as condition of their employment.

The Friedrichs petitioners argue that Abood should be overturned because there is no distinction between bargaining with government and lobbying government—both are political speech. The respondent California Teachers Association, however, counters that union bargaining with government is akin to bargaining with a private employer, and that it is wrongful for teachers to get a “free ride” on union bargaining efforts.

Is the Court likely to overrule Abood? And what will be the implications if it does?

Bill Messenger attended the oral arguments and offered his impressions and predictions during this Courthouse Steps Teleforum conference call.

Featuring:

  • William Messenger, Staff Attorney, National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, Inc.

Free Rider or Free to Speak: Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association Oral Argument Preview - Podcast

Labor & Employment Law Practice Group Podcast
William Messenger, Carrie Severino January 08, 2016

On June 30, 2015, the Supreme Court decided to revisit whether the First Amendment permits the government to compel its employees to financially support a union by granting certiorari in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, No. 14-915. In Friedrichs, the Court will consider whether to overrule Abood v. Detroit Board of Education (1977), which held that public employees can be compelled to financially support union collective-bargaining with government, but not union political activities.

The Court’s grant of certiorari came on the one-year anniversary of its decision in Harris v. Quinn, where the Court criticized Abood’s rationales, but did not overrule Abood. Unlike Harris, Friedrichs squarely presents the issue decided in Abood—whether public school teachers can be required to pay compulsory union fees as condition of their employment.

The Friedrichs petitioners argue that Abood should be overturned because there is no distinction between bargaining with government and lobbying government—both are political speech. The respondent California Teachers Association, however, counters that union bargaining with government is akin to bargaining with a private employer, and that it is wrongful for teachers to get a so-called “free ride” on union bargaining efforts.

Is the Court likely to overrule Abood? And what will be the implications if it does?

Featuring:

  • William Messenger, Staff Attorney, National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, Inc.
  • Carrie Severino, Chief Counsel and Policy Director, Judicial Crisis Network