Washington, DC (June 27, 2011) – The United States Supreme Court today agreed to review a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that effectively forces nonunion California state employees to fund union political activism. The Ninth Circuit decision came in a class action lawsuit filed by National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys for eight California civil servants – including two former union members – against the California State Employee Association (CSEA) union.
Under the Foundation-won Supreme Court decision Teachers Local 1 v. Hudson, public employees forced to pay union dues as a condition of employment must be notified of how much of their dues are spent on union activities unrelated to collective bargaining – such as members-only events and political activism – and given an opportunity to opt out of paying for said activities. Despite this precedent, CSEA union officials issued a “special assessment” in 2005 to raise money from all state employees for a union political fund, regardless of their membership status. Nonunion employees were not given a chance to opt out.
In 2007, a federal district court ruled that the CSEA was required to provide a notice to nonunion employees about the assessment, allow them to opt-out of paying into the union political fund, provide a refund of monies spent on union boss politics, and pay interest from the dates of the deduction to nonmembers who chose to opt out. After CSEA union lawyers appealed the case, a Ninth Circuit panel reversed that decision in December 2010.
On March 10, 2011, Right to Work attorneys filed a petition for a writ of certiorari for the plaintiffs with the United States Supreme Court.
“We’re happy to report that the Supreme Court will review a decision that effectively forces nonunion state employees to subsidize objectionable union political activities,” said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Allowing the Ninth Circuit’s ruling to stand would further undermine state employees’ First Amendment rights and encourage union bosses to extract more forced dues from nonunion workers as a condition of employment.”
The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, assists thousands of employees in more than 250 cases nationwide per year.