Of the many cases affected by the untimely passing of Justice Antonin Scalia, no case had more far-reaching First Amendment potential than Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association. One of the most anticipated cases during the October 2015 term, the case required the Court to determine whether it would accede to public school teachers’ request and overrule Abood v. Detroit Board of Education. Abood arose as a sort of First Amendment aberration in 1977, holding that public employees could be forced to pay unions compulsory agency fees as a condition of employment. [Read More]
Right to Work laws prohibit requirements that workers pay union dues as a condition of employment. Section 14(b) of the National Labor Relations Act authorizes states to enact such laws. The U.S. Supreme Court has twice upheld the constitutionality of state Right to Work laws. Davenport v. Washington Educ. Ass’n, 551 U.S. 177, 184-85 (2007) (public sector); Lincoln Federal Labor Union No. 19129 v. Northwestern Iron & Metal Co., 335 U.S. 525 (1949) (private sector). In the last four years four states—Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and West Virginia—have enacted new Right to Work laws, bringing to twenty-six the total number of states having such laws.Finding themselves on the losing side of recent legislative battles over Right to Work, unions have turned to the courts, challenging all four new Right to Work laws, plus Idaho’s, as unconstitutional on various grounds not explicitly addressed in the Supreme Court’s decisions. However, the litigation has ended in Indiana and Michigan with the challenged laws upheld, and the challenged laws continue to be enforceable in the other three states in which the litigation is still pending. Brief summaries of the cases are available.
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Raymond J. LaJeunesse, Jr. is Vice President & Legal Director at the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, Inc.
Last week, Senior U.S. District Court Judge Sam Cummings of the Northern District of Texas issued a nationwide injunction to prevent implementation of the Department of Labor’s radical new reinvention reinterpretation of the ‘persuader rule.’ The court’s well-reasoned and thorough decision has put a halt, at least temporarily, to this egregious example of executive overreaching to support this Administration’s union allies, but which posed a genuine threat to the confidentiality of attorney-client communications. [Read More]
With the death of Justice Scalia, most Court watchers expected a 4-4 split in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association—the attack on compelled payment of union dues by public school teachers. The Court announced its tie vote on Tuesday, March 29, stating only “the judgment is affirmed by an equally divided Court.” For the time being, public employees in California and elsewhere will be compelled to finance the political activities of their unions. [Read More]
Mandatory unions and professional organizations have a special privilege: the law allows them to take money from employees, even those who would rather not give it. With that special privilege comes a special responsibility to refrain from spending that money on politics and other activities irrelevant to the group’s purposes, and to have special safeguards in place to make sure dissenters’ rights are respected. [Read More]