March 2017

The Next Friedrichs-Type Case Is Approaching

Collective bargaining faces new threats

Teachers' and all union employees' collective bargaining rights are under attack.

The same group behind the challenge to teachers' union service fees for nonmembers that ended in a Supreme Court deadlock last year in Friedrichs has filed a new lawsuit—Yohn v. California Teachers Association.

With Trump's U.S. Supreme Court justice appointee Neil Gorsuch awaiting confirmation, the court is expected to outlaw fair share.

Outlawing fair share would deliver a major blow to teachers and unions across the country, jeopardizing the ability to negotiate good learning conditions for students and good working conditions for teachers. This is what happened in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where teachers' contracts (detailed documents that are typically 20-30 pages long in Connecticut, covering everything from wages to working conditions) are now down to a single page, and salaries and pay raises similarly dried up. (Kenosha's new one-page contract covers a 0.12 percent wage increase.) In February, a bill aimed at stripping away collective bargaining on key items—including seniority—was signed into law in Iowa as well.

The first of many cases expected to go to the U.S. Supreme Court challenging union activities and fair share is Janus v. AFSCME. Filed by labor opponents, it seeks to take away a union's right to avoid those looking for a "free ride" and would force unions to represent workers who contribute nothing.

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