U.S. Supreme Court Takes on Union Mandatory Fees
January 15, 2016
A California case about union dues is being heard by the United States Supreme Court. Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association (CTA) concerns a lawsuit filed by ten California teachers who are suing to overturn Abood v. Detroit Board of Education (1977), which allowed states to require all employees represented exclusively by a public-employee union to pay “fair-share” or “agency” fees.
In California, employees who do not wish to pay for the political
portion of their union’s activities must still pay these
mandatory “fair share” dues or “shop fees”, which are meant to
cover the costs of theoretical benefits that all employees
receive because the union cannot exclude them from activities
like collective bargaining. Employees can opt out of paying for
the union’s political activities, like campaign contributions.
The Friedrichs case challenges the construct that employees
should be required to pay any dues to a union if they prefer not
to do so.
CSAC is closely monitoring the case, which could have major implications on public sector unions and employers in California. The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Monday, January 11; a decision is expected in summer 2016.