Farce v. Fact in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association

By James Anderson

The outcome of a case being heard by the United States Supreme Court could determine the fate of organized labor.

With Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, the Supreme Court will decide on two matters liable to impact the ability of unions to remain viable, capable of protecting workers’ rights.

Rebecca Friedrichs, described as “a dissident teacher in Southern California,” appears poised to continue a trend of severing the land of palm trees and exorbitant rental rates from its counter-cultural history with her legal affront on organized labor now being considered by the nine most influential justices in the US.

The Supreme Court justices must decide whether a decision from the 1977 case Abood v. Detroit Bd. of Ed. should be overruled, thereby invalidating public sector “agency shop” arrangements. Those arrangements are what currently permit the CTA and other unions to collect “fair share” fees from all employees at a unionized workplace whether or not those employees opt to become members of the union. Under the present system, no educators are forced to join a union, but all receive the benefits of union representation as required by law. Those opposed to paying additional dues and joining a union currently do not have to.

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