Friedrichs and the Supreme Court

Dear AAUP Member:

As you probably have heard, the death of Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia this weekend will have repercussions for a number of cases currently before the court. Among them is Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, a case in which the plaintiffs seek to have the collection by public-sector unions of fair-share fees, or agency fees, ruled unconstitutional. (More background on the case.)

While no one knows for sure what will happen, Scalia’s death strengthens the likelihood that the forty years of precedent finding agency fees constitutional will not be overturned in this case. This would be a positive development for unions and American workers in general. The AAUP legal office will continue to monitor the situation closely and update you as developments occur. AAUP general counsel Risa Lieberwitz offered her analysis in a blog post today on Academe Blog, “The Future of Friedrichs in the Supreme Court.”

What we do know is that whatever happens with the Friedrichs case, we must continue to build strong unions with high membership. We know that other attacks on unions are likely, both in the courts and in state legislatures. Wherever the threat comes from, our best preparation has always been an organized, mobilized membership.

Regards, Aaron Nisenson AAUP Senior Counsel


The AAUP-CBC supports unionization as the most effective means for academic employees to protect shared governance and academic freedom, to uphold professional standards and values, and to promote higher education as an investment in our common future. Visit the AAUP-CBC website and Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

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