July 2, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Washington, DC – The U.S. Supreme Court on June 28 denied a petition by anti-union California teachers to rehear their attempt to have agency fees for public-sector workers outlawed.
The court had deadlocked 4-4 on the Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association case in March, after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, upholding an appeals-court ruling that said unions could require nonmembers to pay fees for representation. Lawyers for the ten teachers, backed by an array of antiunion organizations, had argued that the Court should rehear the case because the question needed to be resolved, but failed to get a majority of justices to vote to do so. The current precedent was set by the Court in the 1977 Abood v. Detroit Board of Education decision, which held that nonmembers could be required to pay fees as long as they didn’t have to contribute to the union’s explicitly political activities. The Friedrichs plaintiffs argued that collective bargaining by public-sector unions was political activity. Read more