Phi Beta Cons

Friedrichs v. CTA has the Unions Worried

At the end of the Supreme Court’s term, the justices announced a number of cases that it will hear in the fall. Among them is Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association. That has the unions very worried because the issue is whether public sector unions will be allowed to continue to take and use dues money from workers who have to accept union representation for purposes not related to collective bargaining — mainly politics. As things now stand, unions have to allow dissenters the chance to opt out paying for union politicking, but they contrive to make it as hard as possible for anyone to do that. That raises First Amendment issues, since the Court has held that just as people have a right to speak, they also have a right not to be forced to subsidize speech by others.

One of the groups that has filed an amicus brief in the case is Pacific Legal and this piece by attorney Deborah LaFetra explains the issues.

As you’d expect, the Court’s willingness to hear the case has set off alarms in the offices of unions. They depend on a big flow of money from the workers they claim to represent and fear that if they were allowed to choose whether or not to pay for more than just the cost of collective bargaining, many of them would decide to use their money for other things. In this Inside Higher Ed story, Frederick Kowal, president of United University Professions, blares that the suit is “an insidious way to bankrupt unions.” That assertion is, of course, nonsense. A ruling against the CTA’s system would merely put teacher and faculty unions on the same plane as all other groups — having to ask for money for political purposes and take “no” for an answer when individuals exercise their right to make that choice. If any union goes bankrupt it would be because the workers don’t think it is worth what it costs.

The case will be probably be argued in October or November and recent precedents including Knox v. SEIU and Harris v. Quinn suggest that the unions’ finance scheme is on thin ice.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

Most Popular

Media

‘Anonymous’ Falls Flat

On the menu today: The op-ed page of the New York Times made the deliberate decision to hoodwink America about the identity of “Anonymous”; the sense of guilt that pervades legacy media -- a very apt label; and wondering whether or not we will even see long lines on Election Day with early voting being so ... Read More
Media

‘Anonymous’ Falls Flat

On the menu today: The op-ed page of the New York Times made the deliberate decision to hoodwink America about the identity of “Anonymous”; the sense of guilt that pervades legacy media -- a very apt label; and wondering whether or not we will even see long lines on Election Day with early voting being so ... Read More

Another Pollster Sees a Trump Win

The Trafalgar Group’s Robert Cahaly is an outlier among pollsters in that he thinks President Trump will carry Michigan, Pennsylvania, or both, and hence be reelected with roughly 280 electoral votes. (I explained his thinking here.) Last week another pollster, Jim Lee of Susquehanna Polling and Research, ... Read More

Another Pollster Sees a Trump Win

The Trafalgar Group’s Robert Cahaly is an outlier among pollsters in that he thinks President Trump will carry Michigan, Pennsylvania, or both, and hence be reelected with roughly 280 electoral votes. (I explained his thinking here.) Last week another pollster, Jim Lee of Susquehanna Polling and Research, ... Read More
Economy & Business

Daylight Savings Forever

Before I became a parent, I didn't have especially strong feelings about the time shifting by an hour twice a year. Like most people I was aware of the downsides -- increased car accidents, schedule confusion, etc. -- and I figured it would be better to knock it off. But I didn't feel personally offended by ... Read More
Economy & Business

Daylight Savings Forever

Before I became a parent, I didn't have especially strong feelings about the time shifting by an hour twice a year. Like most people I was aware of the downsides -- increased car accidents, schedule confusion, etc. -- and I figured it would be better to knock it off. But I didn't feel personally offended by ... Read More

Hunter Biden on Tape?

In a newly released recording, a man purported to be Hunter Biden is heard rambling about (a) his legal representation of Patrick Ho, a convicted former Hong Kong official he refers to as “the f***ing spy chief of China”; (b) his business dealings with Ye Jianming, the corrupt Chinese high roller, whom Hunter ... Read More

Hunter Biden on Tape?

In a newly released recording, a man purported to be Hunter Biden is heard rambling about (a) his legal representation of Patrick Ho, a convicted former Hong Kong official he refers to as “the f***ing spy chief of China”; (b) his business dealings with Ye Jianming, the corrupt Chinese high roller, whom Hunter ... Read More