SCOTUS to Take Up California Union Fees Case

According to the Associated Press, the Supreme Court will listen to a lawsuit filed by California teachers that could limit the power of government labor unions to collect fees from non-members. Photo of newspaper

The AP reported that the Supreme Court would hear an appeal from a group of teachers who claim that they are being forced into paying union fees, violating their First Amendment rights because they disagree with union positions. The teachers are reportedly looking to overturn decades-old legal precedent that allows unions to collect fees from non-members to pay for collective bargaining costs, as long as the fees do not go toward political purposes.

Currently, many states require workers to pay “fair share” fees if a union represents them in bargaining, even if they are not members. The lead plaintiff in the case, Rebecca Friedrichs, a teacher in Orange County, says that she resigned from the California Teachers Association because it takes positions that are not in her community’s best interests, according to the AP.

Friedrichs claims that she pays about $650 per year to cover collective bargaining costs. Recently, a federal district court and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against her. She has appealed her case all the way to the Supreme Court. Many unions have released statements saying the lawsuit is nothing more than an effort to weaken labor rights.

Labor law experts are monitoring the case closely, with some saying that if fees are not collected from non-members, it could result in a “free-ride” system and the weakening of unions. The case is expected to be heard by the Supreme Court this fall.

Our Los Angeles Labor Attorneys Can Help if You Have a Workplace Disagreement

We will be paying close attention to this case for the reasons stated above. If you are experiencing issues at work and you believe that your union is not taking your claims seriously or you are not a member, contact our Los Angeles labor litigation lawyers to set up a consultation. We can listen to your story and determine if you have any way to move forward legally.

Our attorneys work with clients who have experienced issues at work including wage and overtime disputes, wrongful termination, retaliation, discrimination and violations of the Family Medical and Leave Act (FMLA).

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Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob—Los Angeles employment attorneys