Will Supreme Court Destroy Unions Grip on Workers?

Twenty-six states have laws that either force workers in a number of fields to join unions or pay union dues even though they do not belong to a union. It doesn’t matter if they want to join or support a union or not. Teachers, electrical workers, plumbers, manufacturing and even many retail workers have to join a union and/or pay monthly dues to one in order work and provide for their families.

After my wife was laid off from her job last year, she applied at a local grocery store. She found out that they only hire 24 hours part time to begin with, starting pay was only $7.25 an hour and she would have to pay monthly union dues out of those paltry earnings. No union dues, no job, plain and simple.

Unions are not only involved in employment issues, but they have become extremely powerful political organizations, typically supporting liberal Democrats. It only makes sense that unions want to keep their members enslaved to them just as Democrats want to enslave all Americans into their socialist government. Many union members don’t agree with the liberal political activism of the unions they are forced to join or support, but they have little say about it.

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That may all change if the US Supreme Court accepts the petition to hear the case filed by ten California teachers. Led by Rebecca Freidrichs, a teacher from Buena Park, they are challenging the California law that forces them to join or pay union dues to the California Teachers Association, a union with nearly 300,000 members.

California’s law, referred to as the ‘agency shop’ law, forces teachers and other professionals join or pay union dues to the unions of their profession even if they aren’t members. It doesn’t matter if they disagree with what the union does; they are still required to pay the monthly dues. There is a provision that does allow teachers in California to request a refund for the part of their dues that was used for political purposes, but for other activities such as collective bargaining, their dues will not be refunded.

Freidrichs and her lawsuit colleagues have been paying between $600 to $1,000 a year to the union that they do not want to belong to or have any part of. After spending three years on the board, Freidrichs says she found the experience to more frustrating than empowering. She now believes that teachers should have the right to choose whether or not to join or pay the union dues if they are not members. The refund process for political purposes is so complex that it’s extremely difficult to actually get any money back and they still end up contributing hundreds of dollars for political purposes that they do not support.

Freidrichs stated:

“When unions use our dues money to block sensible reform and protect teachers who clearly do not belong in the classroom, it’s time to say enough is enough.”

Supporting the lawsuit challenging the California law is The Center for Individual Rights and Christian Educators Association International. Terry Pell, President of the Center for Individual Rights stated:

“The gist [of the petition] is claiming that compulsory union dues violates the First Amendment right for employees to decide for themselves what causes to support.”

“The First Amendment doesn’t allow the state to compel speech. It can’t force individuals to speak out, and it can’t prevent individuals from speaking when they do want to speak. The only question is whether the union fairly and accurately represents the interest of its members.”

Joseph Williams wrote on Takepart.com:

“‘We’re not challenging the union’s authority to be the collective bargaining agent’ for teachers, and CTA could still do that even if the Supreme Court ruled against it, Pell said. The problem, he said, is CTA takes ‘very political positions’ on education issues—school choice, for example, or teacher tenure—that some of its members don’t like and spends dues backing partisan election campaigns.”

“The high court has heard a case like this before. Last year, the justices ruled on Harris v. Quinn, which challenged Illinois’ version of California’s “agency shop” law. The court upheld the Illinois law, but just barely: It declared unions couldn’t collect dues from employees who didn’t want to join and signaled it was open to another, more focused challenge to the law…”

“Last year, a federal court in California rejected Friedrichs’ lawsuit against the CTA, setting up the Supreme Court appeal. In a statement afterward, union president Dean E. Vogel praised the ruling and, referencing the Quinn decision, said his organization works tirelessly to improve working conditions for all teachers, even nonmembers.”

If the Supreme Court agrees to hear this lawsuit and does rule in favor of the ten teachers, it could result in a deadly blow to the power of unions to enslave workers and extort money from them that is used for things they do not agree with. Such a decision could play an important part in the right-to-work movement that strives to gives Americans the right to work in any field without being forced to join or support a union.

Our federal government operates very similarly to these labor unions in that they force us to pay taxes and then use our taxpayer dollars to fund many things that we do not agree with or support. I can’t help but wish that if the teachers win this lawsuit that it could be used as a precedent to sue the federal government for extorting taxes from us that are likewise used for purposes we do not agree with.

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