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The Seventy-Four Examines Potential Outcomes of Friedrichs vs. California Teachers Association Supreme Court Case

Mike Antonucci and Mike Petrilli look at the potential fallout from a legal case before the Supreme Court regarding compulsory collection of union dues.

Public-school teacher Rebecca Friedrichs and her fellow plaintiffs...maintain that the compulsory fees violate their First Amendment rights to free speech and free association. Supreme Court watchers on the left and right agree that the Court is likely to decide for the plaintiffs on these grounds.

No one can be forced to join a teachers union or contribute to its political activities, so unions can only compel nonmembers to help pay for nonpolitical activities. But there’s the rub. It’s the unions themselves that define what’s “nonpolitical” and thus “chargeable” to fee-payers. According to the National Education Association (NEA), these activities include collective bargaining,preparations for strikes, grievance processing, relevant communications with bargaining unit members, and costs associated with the union’s representative bodies.

The plaintiffs counter that collective bargaining itself is intrinsically political. Furthermore, many of the activities the NEA defines as nonpolitical could be construed as quite the opposite.

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