Will This Court Case Kill Teachers Unions in California?


A legal case in California may spell doom for the California Teachers Association (CTA), the state's largest education union. Rebecca Friedrichs, who teaches in the Los Angeles suburb of Buena Park, and a group of other teachers are challenging CTA's ability to collect dues from people who don't join the union:

At issue is California's "agency shop" law, which forces members of a unionized profession to pay dues even if they don't support or have membership in the union. Teachers in California can opt out of paying CTA dues spent on political efforts, like lobbying, by asking for a refund, but they can't opt out of dues used for collective bargaining.

Friedrich and her colleagues, however, argue that the opt-out process is so complex they end up contributing hundreds of dollars to political activities with which they disagreed.

A federal court in California rejected Friedrichs' case last year and she and her co-plaintiffs are appealing to the Supreme Court. According to Joseph Williams at takepart:

The high court has heard a case like this before. Last year, the justices ruled on Harris v. Quinn, which challenged Illinois' version of California's "agency shop" law. The court upheld the Illinois law, but just barely: It declared unions couldn't collect dues from employees who didn't want to join and signaled it was open to another, more focused challenge to the law.

It's not clear if or when the court will announce a decision.

More info here.

Related vid: "3 Reasons School Choice is Growing"

Reason is a media sponsor of National School Choice Week, which focuses attention on how increasing options for students and parents can improve K-12 education. It runs from January 25-January 31. For more information, go here.

NEXT: Scientology-Funded Group Preaching Anti-Drug Message in NYC Public Schools

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Buena Park is my hometown, and it’s a suburb of Orange County–NOT Los Angeles. Sorry, Nick, but that’s a pet peeve of mine…

    1. I’m from La Palma and was going to post the same thing.

      Just because the Anaheim Angels say they’re from LA doesn’t make it so!

    2. Let’s be real, all of Orange County is one giant suburb of LA

      1. Nope. Orange County is distinct and separate from LA County (different politicians, different laws and sales tax rates). Plus, OC is far nicer since it doesn’t have all the trash, graffiti and homeless people that LA does.

        1. I live in LA, I was mostly just saying that to give you shit. That said, being in a different county doesn’t mean you’re not a suburb of another city. County lines are arbitrary. Also, being nicer (which is heavily dependent on which part of LA you’re comparing the OC too, and whether you’re referring to just the city or LA county as a whole) definitely doesn’t make you not a suburb.

          1. I’m from the Bay Area and generally consider San Diego to be a suburb of LA. Of course, I also consider San Jose (and even Santa Cruz) to be a suburb of San Francisco and Milwaukee a suburb of Chicago.

            1. I’m being slightly facetious on the San Diego thing. But OC is part of the LA MSA…

            2. San Diego is Tijuana’s nicest suburb!

    3. The Los Angeles MSA includes the OC.

      Deal with it. All of the OC is a suburb of LA.

      1. You have no clue what you’re talking about. Orange County contains many suburbs and is NEAR LA, but there’s no connection between the two counties. It would be just as inaccurate and ridiculous to call OC a suburb of San Diego or San Francisco.

        1. Apparently enough people commute between Orange and LA Counties for them to meet the standard for a single MSA.

          1. This is government statistics, so is somewhat bullshit, but people always seem to get mad when they are included in the MSA with some city they dont like.

          2. Just as many (possibly more) commute between OC and Riverside. Does that mean Riverside (which lies beyond a mountain range in another county) is a suburb of Orange County? Or is it an LA suburb too?

            1. Riverside-San Bernardino is a separate MSA.

              But it is a part of the LA Combined Statistical Area.

              Ventura County is also a separate MSA that is part of the CSA.

              It has to do with centers of business or something. I forget the standard used. So there are 3 “cores”, LA, Riverside, and Oxnard that define MSAs.

        2. Does New York City have no suburbs then (since the boroughs are all their own counties)?

          1. I guess Marrieta isnt really an Atlanta suburb either.

            Although “satellite city” may be a more technically accurate term, but then again, maybe not.

            1. How about Minneapolis and Saint Paul? Or San Francisco and Oakland? Clearly, the two former cities are the dominant ones by any number of factors (population, commerce, etc). And they’re both separated by less than 10 miles.

              1. The downtowns, I mean.

  2. Unless Orange County is a city, you’re looking for a word other than “suburb”.

    1. Oops, thread fail. That was a reply to Antilles.

    2. I realize Orange County isn’t a city (it actually contains 34 distinct cities), but it’s often treated as such. For instance, look at those Real Housewives shows. They all take place in a specific city, with the exception of the Orange County version. Basically, Buena Park is nothing but suburbs and tourist attractions. But its only connection to LA is proximity.

      1. How much of that is just name recognizability, though? For instance, I doubt you’d see Real Housewives – Naperville (you’d use Chicago instead).

  3. Will This Court Case Kill Teachers Unions in California?

    /shakes Magic 8 Ball

    “In California? Are you freaking nuts? Of course not.”

    1. What if we combine it with the earthquake-equivalent of Hurricane Katrina?

  4. Jesus. Antilles really doesn’t like being from L.A.

    1. Oh, what a rush of ripe elan
      Languor on divans
      Dalliant and dainty
      But oh, the smell of burnt cocaine
      The dolor and decay
      It only makes me cranky
      Oh great calamity,
      Ditch of iniquity and tears
      How I abhor this place
      Its sweet and bitter taste
      Has left me wretched, retching on all fours
      Los Angeles, I’m yours

      1. Excellent Decemberists song. The whole darn album is good.

  5. Think of all the homework that I missed…

  6. The court upheld the Illinois law,

    It upheld a law that required employees who didn’t want to join the union to pay dues anyway, right?

    It declared unions couldn’t collect dues from employees who didn’t want to join

    My head hurts. That sounds like they overturned the law. What am I missing?

    1. My head hurts. That sounds like they overturned the law. What am I missing?

      I’m having trouble finding information on the full effect of the Public Labor Relations Act (the law at issue in Quinn but at first glance my take is that the Supreme Court struck down the provisions of the law related to collecting dues from non-members but left other provisions in place.

  7. And not soon enough!

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.