Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Fair Share Fees Safe After 4-4 Decision in Friedrichs v. CTA

In a brief, one-sentence ruling, the United States Supreme Court upheld fair share fees in California.  In Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, a teacher who benefited from the contract CTA negotiated, asserted a right to "free ride" and pay nothing to the union.  But courts have long decided all employees who benefit from a union contract have to pay a fair share, even if they opt out of union membership.  In California, PERB has detailed regulations for how public sector unions determine and charge these fair share fees.

The Court's ruling stated, "The judgment is affirmed by an equally divided Court."  Initially, many expected the Court to rule against labor in a 5-4 decision, but the death of Justice Scalia resulted in a 4-4 tie among the justices.  The ruling means the decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals stands and unions may continue to charge fair share fees.