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Right to Work Experts Discuss Friedrichs v. CTA Supreme Court Argument

On Monday, the United States Supreme Court heard oral argument in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association. The lawsuit by independent-minded California teachers, building upon National Right to Work Foundation-won precedent, challenges the constitutionality of forced union dues for government workers.

After the oral argument, Foundation President Mark Mix appeared on the Vicki McKenna Show to discuss the case. Listen to the audio below:

Meanwhile, Foundation staff attorney Bill Messenger joined the Federalist Society for an in-depth look at the arguments made. You can listen to the podcast by clicking here.



The Foundation relies completely on voluntary contributions from our supporters to provide free legal aid. Please chip in with a tax-deductible contribution of $10 or more today to support the Foundation's programs.

Supreme Court Argument Preview: What's at Stake in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association

On Monday, the United States Supreme Court will hear arguments in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, a potentially landmark lawsuit brought by 10 California public school teachers. The case, which builds on recent Foundation Supreme Court victories in Knox v. SEIU (2012) and Harris v. Quinn (2014), could put an end to forced union dues in the public sector.

Below, we've put together a list of helpful links to explain the issues at stake, as the well as the implications of a favorable Friedrichs decision for civil servants across the country. 

Last September, National Right to Work President Mark Mix published an op-ed in The Washington Times explaining why the High Court should take this opportunity to outlaw mandatory union dues for government employees. Key quote:

Friedrichs gives the court an opportunity to outlaw all mandatory union dues in the public sector. To be clear, such a ruling wouldn’t end government unions. Employees who genuinely support a labor organization would still be free to join up and pay dues. What it would do, however, is limit government unions’ outsized political influence.

Without a guaranteed stream of income from nonunion employees, union officials wouldn’t have nearly as much money to spend on friendly politicians. Moreover, unions that actually have to persuade employees to join and voluntarily contribute tend to be more focused on their members and less fixated on partisan politics.

Outlawing mandatory union dues or fees in the public sector would also limit the ability of union officials to handpick their negotiating partners in state and local government. Politicians who aren’t beholden to union special interests are more likely to strike better bargains for their constituents.

Ideally, no employee — public or private — would ever be forced to pay union dues to get or keep a job. In Friedrichs, the Supreme Court has a chance to restore the workplace rights of America’s civil servants and end the corrupting influence of public-sector forced dues on our political system.

Veteran National Right to Work Foundation staff attorney Bill Messenger also contributed to SCOTUSBlog's Friedrichs symposium, which offers a more in-depth look at the legal issues surrounding the case. Messenger was the lead attorney for the Foundation's Harris Supreme Court victory, which helped lay the groundwork for many of the arguments presented in  Friedrichs. Key quote:

Friedrichs likely represents the terminus of this line of reasoning. By design, the case squarely presents the question wrongly decided in Abood:  whether public school teachers can be forced to support union bargaining with a school district. Harris suggests that the Court will be receptive to the Friedrichs petitioners’ arguments that there is no relevant difference under the First Amendment between bargaining with government and lobbying government, in that both are petitioning government over matters of political and public concern, and that Abood should be overruled on these grounds.

. . . 

Leaving aside the positive impact on public policy of reducing the unique power and financial resources of public-sector unions, the Friedrichs decision will have profound implications for the First Amendment rights of millions of workers. An estimated five million public-sector employees are currently subject to forced-fee requirements and must pay tribute to a union as a condition of their employment. Even under the existing precedents, this is, as the Court has recognized repeatedly, a “significant impingement” on the First Amendment rights of each and every individual worker who would not voluntarily support the union which government forces them to subsidize. Overruling Abood will end the most widespread abuse of First Amendment rights in the nation, while failing to do so will perpetuate it.

For more information on the Friedrichs case, you can also check out the National Right to Work Foundation's brief in support of the plaintiffs and SCOTUSBlog's compendium of every brief submitted in the case. 

National Right to Work Foundation Labor Day Media Roundup

Over the Labor Day weekend, National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix spread the message of worker freedom on television programs, in radio interviews, and in newspaper columns across the country.

On C-SPAN's Washington Journal, Mix made the moral and economic case for Right to Work laws and answered questions about the latest developments in labor law. Watch the video here:

In a column in the Washington Times, Mix discussed an upcoming case at the United States Supreme Court that builds on Foundation-won precedents in which the Court expressed skepticism about the constitutionality of public sector union officials' forced-dues power.

The incestuous relationship between public-sector unions and politicians busts budgets and erodes democratic accountability. But without ready access to forced-dues cash, government unions' political influence would decline dramatically. Fortunately, the Supreme Court has just agreed to hear a case that strikes at the heart of public-sector unions' forced-dues privileges. In Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, a group of nonunion public school teachers is challenging a union policy that requires them to pay any union dues at all to keep their jobs.

Friedrichs gives the court an opportunity to outlaw all mandatory union dues in the public sector. To be clear, such a ruling wouldn't end government unions. Employees who genuinely support a labor organization would still be free to join up and pay dues. What it would do, however, is limit government unions' outsized political influence.

In columns in states with Right to Work laws, Mix invited workers and job creators to "celebrate the Right to Work advantage." From the Tulsa World:

According to data compiled by the National Institute for Labor Relations Research, Right to Work states have enjoyed higher private-sector job growth and larger wage increases over the past decade than their forced-unionism counterparts. No only that, but after adjusting for states’ differing costs of living, residents in Right to Work states enjoy more disposable income than their non-Right to Work neighbors.

The connection between Right to Work laws and better economic performance shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Business experts consistently rank the presence of Right to Work laws as one of the most important factors companies consider when deciding where to expand or relocate their facilities where they will create new jobs.

In Michigan, one of the country's newest Right to Work states, Mix took to the pages of the Detroit News to educate autoworkers about their newfound rights:

Are you an autoworker? A member of the UAW? Are you tired of paying dues or fed up with your union’s policies? When the UAW’s contracts with the Big Three automakers expire later this month, Michigan, Indiana, and Wisconsin autoworkers will finally have the chance to decide for themselves if paying dues to UAW officials is a good use of their money.

Meanwhile, in states without Right to Work laws, Mix made the case for protecting worker freedom in newspapers including the Chicago Sun-Times:

So as you celebrate the coming three-day weekend, consider the benefits of Right to Work. Consider your unemployed neighbor that might find a job. Consider the new manufacturing plant that might open its doors. Consider what you might do with an extra $2,000 of spending power in your pocket.

Will your state be the next Right to Work state?



The Foundation relies completely on voluntary contributions from our supporters to provide free legal aid. Please chip in with a tax-deductible contribution of $10 or more today to support the Foundation's programs.

Video: How UAW Big 3 Autoworkers Can Exercise Right to Work, Stop all Union Dues and Fees

When the UAW’s monopoly bargaining contract with the Big 3 automakers expires on September 14, 2015, workers in Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin will be able to exercise their Right to Work for the first time. Workers who want to resign from the union and stop all dues and fees may watch the video below for a detailed explanation of the steps workers must take.

The NRTW Foundation’s statement also provides important information and the special legal notice provides a sample resignation letter that workers may use. If any worker has trouble exercising their rights he or she may contact the Foundation and request free legal assistance here.

Westerly, RI Part-time Police Officers Challenge Retaliation, Termination for Exposing Scheme to Divert $5/Hour to Union

News Release
 

Westerly, RI Part-time Police Officers Challenge Retaliation, Termination for Exposing Scheme to Divert $5/Hour to Union

Two Federal Civil Rights lawsuits filed against the town and police union after officers were threatened for questioning why 13% of paycheck was being sent to union

Westerly, Rhode Island (July 28, 2015) – Five part-time police officers in Westerly, RI have filed a Civil Rights lawsuit against the Town of Westerly, several town officials, and International Brotherhood of Police Officers Local 503 (Local 503) in U.S. District Court. The plaintiffs are receiving free legal aid from the National Right to Work Foundation.

Thomas Cimalore, Anthony Falcone, Scott Ferrigno, Darrell Koza, and Raymond Morrone, brought the suit and seek declaratory, injunctive, and monetary relief because a portion of every paycheck (at a rate of $5 an hour) is being confiscated by the town and paid directly to Local 503.

The lawsuit alleges that the plaintiffs’ First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights (and other state labor and whistle blower protection statues) are violated when they are forced, as a condition of employment, to financially support Local 503 despite never authorizing or requesting that the town withhold a portion of their paycheck and distribute those funds to Local 503. 

Michigan Hospital Employees Win Settlement After SEIU Union Bosses Blocked Workers from Exercising Right to Work

News Release
 

Michigan Hospital Employees Win Settlement After SEIU Union Bosses Blocked Workers from Exercising Right to Work

Union bosses ignored Michigan’s Right to Work law and continued to collect forced dues from seven Mercy Memorial Hospital workers

Monroe, Michigan (July 23, 2015) – Seven workers at Mercy Memorial Hospital in Monroe, MI have won a settlement from Service Employees International Union Local 79 (SEIU) in a case challenging SEIU officials’ failure to obey Michigan’s new Right to Work law and accept the workers’ revocation of a union dues checkoff scheme.

James McGregor, Anna Serra, Mary Sancrainte, Nancy Krueger, Janice Noel, Anna Hoffman, and Susan Harrison, with free legal aid from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against SEIU Local 79 in February of this year.

All seven workers had been members of the union. In late November 2014, the monopoly bargaining agreement between Local 79 and Mercy Memorial Hospital expired. In the weeks just before and after the contract expired, all seven workers resigned union membership and attempted to exercise their new workplace rights under Michigan’s Right to Work law to refrain from paying Local 79 any fees as nonmembers. 

 

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