Washington, DC (June 21, 2012) - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7-2 today, siding with nonmember California state employees challenging a Service Employees International Union (SEIU) political fee charged to them without notice and opportunity to opt out.
The case concludes a prolonged legal challenge affecting some 36,000 California government employees initiated by eight California civil servants who filed a class-action lawsuit with free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.
In 2005, SEIU officials imposed a "special assessment" to raise money from all state employees forced to accept union representation as a job condition for a union political fund, regardless of their membership status. The fund was used to defeat four ballot proposals, including one that would have revoked public employee unions' special privilege of using forced fees for politics unless an employee consents. Employees who refrained from union membership were given no chance to opt out of paying the SEIU's political assessment.
Mark Mix, President of National Right to Work, issued the following statement regarding today's ruling:
"Today, the United States Supreme Court upheld workers' First Amendment rights and struck down another union boss scheme to confiscate and spend state workers' hard earned money for politics without their permission.
"Attorneys from the National Right to Work Foundation – the nation's leading advocate for workers who suffer from the abuses of compulsory unionism – argued, and the Court agreed, that the workers should not be forced to subsidize union officials' political spending, even for a short period of time.
"The Court closed a giant loophole that allowed union bosses to confiscate money from workers' paychecks for political spending sprees – and sent a message to union officials, once again, that forced political conformity is unconstitutional."
For more information on the case, please visit the National Right to Work Foundation's Knox Supreme Court case page at http://www.nrtw.org/en/knox/ .