In 2005, the California State Employees Association (CSEA) union, a local affiliate of the SEIU, imposed a "special assessment" on every civil servant in its bargaining unit to pay for a campaign to defeat several California ballot initiatives. CSEA officials collected money from all employees to pay for union political activism, including those who were not union members. In 2007, a federal district court ruled that the CSEA was required to provide a notice to nonunion employees about the assessment, allow them to opt-out of paying into the union political fund, provide a refund of monies spent on union politics, and pay interest from the dates of the deductions to nonmembers who chose to opt out. After CSEA lawyers appealed the case, a Ninth Circuit panel reversed that decision in December 2010. On June 27, 2011, the United States Supreme Court announced it would review the Ninth Circuit’s ruling. The Court then struck down the scheme in a precedent-setting ruling issued on June 21, 2012. The Court’s majority ruled for the first time that government union officials must obtain affirmative consent from workers before using workers’ forced union fees for union politicking.
Below, you’ll find links to relevant legal documents, Foundation news releases, and notable media coverage.
"Unions and Forced Political Speech,"National Review, 7/1/2011
"Government employees’ free speech on trial," Washington Times, 1/9/2012