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Supreme Court May Determine Fate of Forced Unionism
posted by: Guest contributor | July 06, 2015, 03:37 PM   

By Conner Dunleavy


Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that it will take up the Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association case. This landmark case challenges the ability of unions to collect dues from employees who may not wish to be a part of the union or object to the use of their dues on issues which they fundamentally disagree with. This case lays out a First Amendment freedom of speech challenge to the long standing forced unionism policy.


Friedrichs will be heard in the coming year and a ruling could be handed down as early as June, 2016. The implications of a potential ruling in this case are far-reaching as millions of teachers and other public employees are subject to compulsory union fees in various states.


Should the Supreme Court rule in favor of teacher freedom of choice, agency fee payers would be free from their obligation to pay to a union they feel does not represent them.


The Association of American Educators is proud to have joined an amicus curiae (friend on the court) brief on behalf of the plaintiffs in this case because we believe teachers deserve choices. Karen Cuen, an AAE member and plaintiff reacted to the decision:


“I got involved in the Freidrichs vs. CTA case as a plaintiff because it finally gave me a chance to say enough is enough. The shenanigans of the teachers' unions must be stopped. If we prevail, teachers across the country will finally have the right to choose whether they give their hard-earned money to their union. It will no longer be taken from them by force."


This practice is big business for the unions and is still law in 22 states. In 2007 alone, teachers unions collected $2 billion in union dues. $1.3 billion of those dues came from states with compulsory unionism. Union dues are highest in states where there is compulsory unionism – sometimes twice as much as compared to states where teachers have the option not to join the union. The numbers speak for themselves.

The issue of compulsory unionism is at the heart of why AAE was founded as professional alternative. AAE believes that teachers, as college-educated professionals, should be able to decide whether union membership matches his or her budget and beliefs. The fact is there are thousands of educators who do not want to be represented by a union and do not want to pay union dues but are forced to because of state laws.

“This is a step in the right direction for teacher freedom of choice,” stated AAE Founder & President Gary Beckner. “We’re pleased the Supreme Court has decided to hear this landmark case.”

Click here for more information about compulsory unionism and teacher rights.


What would it mean to you if SCOTUS rules in favor of teachers?

Tell us in the comments below.


ConnerDunleavyAs the 2015 summer intern for AAE, Conner supports the communications and marketing team in the DC AAE office. From the class of 2017, he intends to graduate from the University at Albany with a Bachelor's Degree in European History and a Minor in Education.




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