The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the agency fees that public workers must pay to unions to fund collective bargaining negotiations. At the heart of the case, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, was a question of whether those agency fees violate public employees’ First Amendment rights to free speech.
Public-sector workers can opt out of paying full union dues, but they must pay agency fees to fund collective bargaining negotiations. [Rebecca] Friedrichs and her fellow educators argue that collective bargaining is inherently political, since many of the positions unions take during negotiations with school administrators reflect their political choices.
“This case is about protecting the individual rights that each of us are guaranteed in the Constitution, and that includes the right to not fund political positions with which we disagree,” said Friedrichs, the California teacher who initiated the challenge.
“I just also believe that I deserve to have the freedom to choose, as do other public sector employees across the nation.”
The late Justice Antonin Scalia would likely have been the tie-breaker on the court, which would have ruled in favor of Friedrichs. Such a decision could have delivered a blow to public-sector unions, making union dues optional for all public employees.
What do you think of this ruling? Is this an obstruction of free speech?