In today’s Orange County Register former State Senator Gloria Romero discusses a pending case where several public school teachers have sued the state and the California Teachers Association (CTA) challenging the Plaintiffs being forced to be in a public employee union in order to have their jobs as teachers. The case (entitled Friedrichs, et al v. California Teachers Association, et al) was pending at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. However, the Court granted Plaintiff’s attorneys’ motion to affirm the trial court’s findings against the Plaintiffs without the need for an oral argument. Part of the reasoning, according to Senator Romero’s op ed piece, is the 9th Circuit recognized that only the United States Supreme Court can overturn its own prior decision of Abood v. Detroit Bd. Of Ed. 431 U.S. 209 (1977). This has significantly sped up the appeals process hopefully getting the case before the Supreme Court (and a decision from it) by over a year – as early as 2015 or 2016.
A few months ago the Supreme Court issued an important decision in Harris v. Quinn which I posted a blog about on July 1st (Harris v. Quinn, an Important Limitation on Forced Unionization). I noted that while the Harris case did not overturn the Abood case or declare that all government employee unionization is not lawful, the Harris court majority noted serious misgivings about the Abood cases’ underlying rational and the public policy of allowing government employee unions to require people to join them (and pay dues) against their will in order to keep their government jobs. Senator Romero also noted this about the Harris case in her op ed piece. Here is a link to her opinion piece (which is not behind the Register’s pay wall): Union-dues case moves closer to Supreme Court. I highly recommend you read her article.
The Supreme Court is not required to take and hear Rebecca Friedrichs and her friends’ case. But I certainly hope it does and I hope the Supreme Court overturns Abood allowing government employees to make a voluntary choice to join a government employee union or not as they desire. I hope the Court recognizes that when someone is forced to join a union by operation of law and forced to give the union money to spend in ways that employee may not agree with, this is a violation of the 1st Amendment of the Constitution. Liberals always complain about wanting people to be able to make their own choices. A decision by the Supreme Court to end forced unionization of government employees, would be a victory for individual liberty and freedom.
Finally, I have met Rebecca Friedrichs and her husband. They are wonderful long serving teachers who love their profession. If you ever have the opportunity to hear her speak on this subject, you will find a person of passion on this issue and a fighter who is not afraid to stand up to the unions and their bullying tactics. I wish her, her co-plaintiff teacher friends and their legal team well.
Craig P. Alexander, Esq. is an attorney who practices law in the area of insurance coverage, construction defect, HOAs, business dispute and general civil litigation. His office is in Dana Point, California.