The Supreme Court announced today it will hear a case that could deal a major blow to the financial power of public sector unions.
The case, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, involves 10 California teachers who say their being forced to pay union dues violates their right to free speech.
The teachers are asking the court to overturn its 1977 ruling in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, which allows unions to collect dues from non-members for collective bargaining efforts on their behalf.
Forcing public employees to pay union dues — known as “agency shop” laws — as a requirement for employment is in place in California and 25 other states. Although not required to join the union, employees still have to pay dues but can opt out of the one-third that goes toward political action. The other two-thirds goes toward collective bargaining.
The case has far-reaching implications as it could deprive public sector unions of millions of dollars in revenue. The National Law Journal described the case as “a potential union-breaking challenge,” while a group of union leaders said the case would not just be a blow to unions, but “threatens the fundamental promise of America.”