Today Rebecca Friedrichs stood by nine other teachers, with the support of the Center for Individual Rights (CIR) and the Christian Educators Association International, as they gave oral arguments to the Supreme Court. In Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, Friedrichs is challenging the state’s law, where non-members are forced to pay fees to the state’s teacher union.
California is one of the 23 states in the country that aren’t right-to-work states. Teachers living in these states have two options. One, they can join the union and pay the membership fees or two, they can choose not to join the union and still pay the fees anyway. Teachers who reject the union fees are fired.
Friedrichs is on a quest to restore free speech for teachers. These teacher union activities are often political, so non-member teachers are contributing funds to support this, regardless of their viewpoints. Although the California law allows non-member to opt-out of about 30% of the dues that are allocated to political lobbying, these teachers are still responsible to cover the other 70% of fees which go to collective bargaining. Collective bargaining by the union is also a fundamentally political activity. For example, these funds are used by the union to negotiate the local government to spend tax dollars on teacher pensions versus something else. These negotiations are always political in nature.
Not to mention, opting out of the 30% allocated for “political lobbying” is a particularly difficult task. To get the funds back, teachers have to follow a complicated procedure to file for a refund. Several mistakes are made when filing for the refund, so teachers are still contributing to support political agendas they may disagree with.
The CTA is an affiliate to the National Education Association(NEA.) This means that the NEA collects a portion of these non-member fees collected from the CTA. The NEA repeatedly endorses democratic candidates for president and spends a ton of money to do so. During the off-year 2014 elections, the NEA was the third largest political spender.
Tomorrow, Friedrichs and her attorney will be speaking at the Heritage Foundation to discuss what happened in the courtroom earlier today.