“Fair Share” Collective Bargaining Case Before Supreme Court

Among the cases profiled by Governing magazine with large effects on state and local government is a significant test to the notion of “fair share” bargaining for public sector labor unions – a practice that has been debated and used in Maryland in several areas. From the Governing write-up:

Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association

This lawsuit challenges a decades-old law supporting “fair share” payment of charges related to collective bargaining from public-sector workers who opt out of union membership. “Fair share” is a source of huge anxiety to unions across the country.

In 1976, Abood v. Detroit Bd. of Ed held that states’ laws requiring the payment of charges related to collective bargaining did not breach the First Amendment.

At issue in Friedrichs are the two holdings of Abood: the requirement of “fair share” payments for members who opt out of union membership and the ability of the states to assess their employees for union expenses unrelated to collective bargaining. An alternative is for the courts to uphold “fair share” but mandate that workers must instead opt in to the other union expenses charged by the states.

Read more on the Friedrichs case from SCOTUSblog online, including a detailed summary of the issues and multiple case briefs.

Read the full Governing roundup of major pending Supreme Court cases.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties