Supreme Court Seen Likely To Rule Against Mandatory Union Dues

Date: January 12, 2016

NFIB Among Groups Filing Briefs Supporting Case Against Union Fees

After arguments were heard Monday in the case of Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, most news reports concluded that the Supreme Court appears likely to rule against labor unions on the issue of mandatory union fees paid by public-school teachers. USA Today said the court “left little doubt Monday where it stands,” and “appeared almost certain to strike down a requirement that non-members support public employee unions in 23 states.” Justice Antonin Scalia, considered the only conservative who might side with unions due to past statements, said, “Everything that is collectively bargained with the government is within the political sphere, almost by definition,” a statement taken to mean he could side against unions in this case.

What Happens Next

USA Today pointed out that a ruling in the case is anticipated by late June, and will be timed during an election year, when “unions are overwhelmingly aligned with the Democratic Party.” This could further publicize issues of income inequality and the minimum wage onto the agenda, and it might “energize the Democrats’ union base, as Supreme Court defeats often do.”

What This Means For Small Businesses

NFIB filed a brief backing the plaintiff in the case. In a statement to The Hill [1/12, Wheeler], NFIB Small Business Legal Center Executive Director Karen Harned said, “The First Amendment protects freedom of association. Forcing an employee to associate with a union and surrender part of her income to support its political activities is a clear violation of that constitutional protection.” In the Albany (NY) Business Review Harned further said the argument used by unions to justify mandatory fees could be made by the NFIB as well. “Every business benefits from what we do at the National Federation of Independent Business, so every business should be forced to join and pay dues,” Harned said. Clearly, such reasoning is flawed and makes the unions’ case weak against the court. A victory against unions would help small businesses in their efforts to keep labor costs from rising due to union pressure.

Additional Reading

McClatchy also covered the story and pointed out NFIB’s filing of a brief in the case.

Note: this article is intended to keep small business owners up on the latest news. It does not necessarily represent the policy stances of NFIB.

Related Content: Small Business News | Labor

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