Oral argument was heard today by the United States Supreme Court in Friedrichs v. California Teachers’ Association. Rebecca Friedrichs is an objector challenging the right of unions to collect agency or fair share fees from non-members as a contribution towards the cost of negotiating labor agreements. She argues that paying fair share fees violates her First Amendment rights.
If Friedrichs is successful, agency fees will be prohibited. Public employment will effectively become “right to work” across the nation. This will encourage “free riders” who do not pay dues but reap almost all of the benefits of membership. Studies from other states show that eliminating fair share fees will reduce public employee membership rates and wages.
We filed an amicus curiae brief in support of the Teachers’ Union on behalf of a Public Safety Coalition of almost half a million employees.
The transcript from today’s hearing and initial reports from those who attended suggest that the conservative majority on the Supreme Court will rule in favor of Friedrichs and set in motion a series of sweeping attacks on organized labor in the public sector.
Today’s oral argument has been reported widely, including by the New York Times.