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Stephen Muscarella, President
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New York State Attorney General Announces Multi-State Coalition Urging U.S. Supreme Court To Protect Workers’ Organizing Rights In Key Labor Case

Joined By 20 States & The District Of Columbia, NY’s ‘Friend-Of-The-Court’ Brief In Friedrichs vs. California Teachers Association Urges Court To Follow Settled Precedent That Empowers States To Manage Labor Relations As “They Deem Appropriate”

Published Monday, November 16, 2015

(NEW YORK) – During a news conference held Sunday (November 15th) in New York City, State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced that he’s leading a coalition of 20 States and the District of Columbia in filing a Friend-of-the-Court Brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold a Ninth Circuit decision protecting “Agency Shop” and “Fair Share” Provisions in Public Sector Collective Bargaining Agreements.

The brief addresses Friedrichs vs. California Teachers Association, a critical case to be heard during this Court term that seeks to undermine settled precedent that States have relied upon for decades to set up their Labor Contracts and ensure Labor Peace and efficient provision of Government Services.  Schneiderman’s brief is joined by 21 other States, including: Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington State and the District of Columbia.

Schneiderman said the Supreme Court should defer to California’s judgment that California Public School Teachers who are covered by an exclusive-representation Collective Bargaining Arrangement may be charged a fee to cover their Fair Share of the costs of Collective Bargaining: “The ‘right to organize is a fundamental right’ for American Workers.  Unions go ‘hand-in-hand’ with a ‘strong’ Middle Class.  Organizing gives Workers the ‘power’ to lift themselves ‘out’ of poverty and ‘build’ a ‘better future.’  The Supreme Court should follow ‘settled precedent’ and ‘allow’ States like New York to ‘manage our own’ Labor Relations to ‘achieve’ Labor Peace and Government Efficiency and to ‘continue our long tradition’ of ‘support’ for workers.”

The provisions allow a Union that a majority of covered Employees select to serve as their exclusive Collective-Bargaining Representative to collect an Agency Fee from all represented Employees, solely to cover the costs of the Union’s Collective Bargaining Related Activities.

Such fees do not support any political activities which the Union may engage in.

In Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, 431 U.S. 209 (1977), the Supreme Court held that States may constitutionally mandate such payments as part of a system of exclusive collective bargaining representation, in light of the important government interests in achieving Labor Peace and the expenses involved in maintaining the staff expertise necessary to perform Collective Bargaining Functions.

Disagreeing with Abood’s analysis, the plaintiffs contend that Public Sector “Agency Shop” and “Fair Share” Provisions violate the First Amendment.  The District Court entered judgment in favor of defendants on the pleadings and Ninth Circuit summarily affirmed, holding that Abood bars the plaintiffs’ claims.  The Supreme Court then granted plaintiffs’ petition for certiorari.

New York and the other States are supporting the State of California.  Their brief argues that Public Sector “Agency Shop” and “Fair Share” Provisions are consistent with the First Amendment, and that overruling Abood’s approval of those provisions would disrupt thousands of Labor Agreements that States have adopted and maintained for decades in reliance on Abood.

All States have a common interest in defending Abood’s deference to State Policy determinations, and in preserving the ability of States to adopt the same tested models of Collective Bargaining that Congress has permitted for Private Sector Employees.

“The corporate CEOs behind Friedrichs want ‘nothing more’ than to ‘silence’ Working People and ‘break the scales’ which are already ‘tilted in their favor,’” New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento said. “They know when Working People ‘join together,’ they have the ‘power’ to ‘improve’ their Wages, Benefits and Working Conditions and that ‘scares them deeply.’  We ‘thank’ Attorney General Schneiderman for having the ‘courage to stand up’ to ‘very powerful interests’ on behalf of Working Men and Women, and for ‘understanding and appreciating’ the ‘important role’ Unions play in providing a ‘voice’ for Workers.”

“This case is about a ‘small group’ of people who are ‘determined to destroy’ the Middle Class in this Country because they know that they can ‘amass more wealth for themselves,’” United Federation of Teachers (UFT) President Michael Mulgrew said. “Labor Unions are a ‘target’ because it is Organized Labor that has been ‘willing to stand up’ to them.”

“The Hudson Valley Area Labor Federation is ‘proud’ to see that New York’s ‘people’s attorney,’ our ‘own’ Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, has joined those of us in the Labor Movement in ‘speaking out against’ a possible Supreme Court decision in the Friedrich’s case that ‘may make’ every State in the Union a ‘Right-To-Work State’ where Unions would be ‘required’ to represent ‘all’ its members despite ‘NOT’ requiring them to pay dues for such services!” Hudson Valley AFL-CIO Area Labor Federation President Paul Ellis-Graham said. “The ‘precedent’ of having Union Members pay dues so that the Union ‘can do the most for them’ is a ‘long-standing practice’ which Conservatives want to ‘undermine’ so that they can ‘weaken’ Unions, line their own pockets, and give their Employees less.’  We are ‘deeply appreciative’ of Eric’s support on this ‘critical issue.’”

To Read This Labor News Story in its Entirety, Go to:



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