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Supreme Court’s Tied Vote Upholds Public Employee Union Fees Challenged by California Teachers

Supreme Court’s Tied Vote Upholds Public Employee Union Fees Challenged by California Teachers

The Supreme Court voted on the Friedrichs vs. California Teachers Assn. case today, coming back with a tied vote and therefore upholding the public employee union dues being challenged.

"The split decision preserves a long-standing rule that requires about half of the nation's teachers, transit workers and other public employees to pay a 'fair share fee' to support their union,” said The Los Angeles Times.

The constitutionality of fair share fees was brought to the Supreme Court to rule on by a group of California teachers who said that being forced to pay union fees for the purpose of collective bargaining violates free-speech rights.

In California and more than 20 other states, the LA Times said, employees who do not support their union end up having to pay for their union’s political activity on account of the majority rule.

"If a majority of the employees vote for a union, the contract can require that all employees must pay a fee,” the article said.

For this reason, the California teachers argued that fair share fees violate their right to not support a union that is using the money to support opposing political views.

"If the high court had overturned its 1977 precedent and struck down these fees on 1st Amendment grounds, the decision could have had a crippling effect on public employee unions. Their officials feared that many employees, even those who favored the union, would choose not to pay the fees to support one if they were free to do so.”

With the recent death of Justice Antonin Scalia, many expected the lack of a conservative majority would mean a victory for public employee unions.

Read the full story.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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