Monday the Supreme Court hears oral arguments in a case that could bring freedom from forced union fees to teachers and other public employees across the country.
In Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, Rebecca Friedrichs is asking for the right to choose whether to pay a labor union. Because California isn’t a right-to-work state, she has to pay nearly $1,000 per year in union fees in order to teach.
Those mandatory fees, the legal reasoning goes, are permissible because they cover costs CTA, CTA’s local chapter, and the National Education Association incur representing nonmembers. Forced union fees cannot be spent on politics.
But Friedrichs believes all teachers union activities — not just their open campaigning for left-wing causes and candidates — are political. As a result, she argues, making teachers pay unions violates First Amendment protections against compelled political speech.
Public-sector union bargaining over pay, benefits, and work conditions is inherently political because it always involves taxpayer money, public employees, and government services. Despite recognizing this, Supreme Court precedent treats “labor peace” as more important than workers’ free speech rights.
Teachers’ unions are the most subversively evil organizations in America. They operate under a guise of concern for the children but really have one goal: get more money into union coffers.
For the three or four of you wondering if that money ever does anything to improve education for the children, it doesn’t.
The California Teachers Association is a decidedly partisan political lobby that most observers believe to be the strongest political force in the nation’s most populous state.
Predictably, the CTA is flexing its muscle and making the media dance on its behalf:
On the surface, Friedrichs vs. California Teachers Assn., which is being argued Monday before the U.S. Supreme Court, looks like a free-speech case. Lead plaintiff Rebecca Friedrichs, an Anaheim schoolteacher, contends that she’s being forced to pay fees to a union whose positions she doesn’t share.
As we explained in this column about a similar California case, Bain vs. California Teachers Assn., these lawsuits aren’t about free speech, or improving education for children. They’re about silencing the political voice of teacher unions by cutting off their revenues. They’re part of a concerted attack on organized labor mounted by conservative organizations.
Union membership has been declining steadily for decades, largely because rational Americans realize that this isn’t 1915 anymore. Public sector unions will have you believe that the apocalypse is nigh if they don’t have tens of millions of dollars flooding into them every year to “wink, wink” not spend on politics.
The real need for Big Labor in America is almost vestigial at this point, but is kept in the mainstream by the Democratic party, which uses unions for dirty work like battling school choice (which benefit the children but hurt fat cat union types).
It won’t make up for Chief Justice John Roberts’ Obamacare fetish decisions, but a rebuke to the horrendous teachers unions would give a reeling nation a bit of a pulse of freedom.