Podcast: Will Supreme Court Case Undercut Public Employee Unions?

Hosted by: David Weisenfeld

A significant Supreme Court labor case could put the future of public employee unions in doubt. During an 80-minute oral argument in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, the Court's justices heard from a group of California teachers who claim their free speech rights are being violated because they are compelled to pay dues to the state's teachers' union.

On this podcast, listeners get a unique look inside the Court as we feature the key points and questions on the justices' minds, including what the case could mean for collective bargaining agreements. For instance, Justice Elena Kagan said overturning the ability of unions to collect these dues from all employees "could affect millions of employees and disrupt tens of thousands of labor contracts."

Podcast: Will Supreme Court Case Undercut Public Employee Unions?

January 29, 2016

But on the other side, Justice Antonin Scalia wondered why unions would not survive without these fees. Public employee unions nearly lost their ability to collect mandatory fees from nonmembers in a 2014 case, but the Court stopped short of taking that step. How the Court resolves the present dispute is sure to have big implications not only for unions, but for the public employers that negotiate with them as well.

Additional Resources:

Supreme Court Appears Skeptical of Mandatory Public Employee Union Fees

Supreme Court Deals Limited Blow to Public Unions

Public Sector Labor Relations: Federal