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Blake Schreiber

Are Forced Union Dues Constitutional?

Blake Schreiber

Jan 24 2016


Recently, the Supreme Court accepted began hearing a case between a California teacher and the California Teachers Association. The teacher, Rebecca Friedrichs, argues that since she is not a part of the union, she should not be forced to pay dues. She claims that this is a violation of her 1st Amendment right of Freedom of Speech – she’s being forced to pay money to an organization whose views are different than her own. Now, it is fair to say that this is a break of Constitution rights?



One of the most important decisions is whether or not the application and spending of money can be considered an extension of speech under the 1st Amendment. We’re going to reference the Supreme Court case Buckley vs. Valeo of 1976. After Congress had passed the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, several Senators and Unions filed a lawsuit against the Secretary of the Senate, Francis R. Valeo, who was also a member of the Federal Elections Committee. In the end, several of the tenants of the Federal Election Campaign Act (such as unlimited contributions to independent organizations) were overturned, with the Supreme Court stating that spending money on election campaigns was protected as a form of speech under the 1st Amendment. Essentially, spending cash was considered a method of disseminating ideas -- a form of communication, if you will.



Now, if the Supreme Court in fact ruled that spending money towards organizations with similar ideologies is considered to be protected under the 1st Amendment, it is only fair under the law that one cannot be forced to spend money on something with which they do not agree -- Regardless of whether or not they actually gain any benefit from it. To be forced to contribute a portion of one’s income towards an organization that they are in no fact apart of (outside of any sort of benefits that may have been gained from which the organization argued for) should be considered strictly unconstitutional. It’s no different than if you were to be forced to pay for the elections and campaigns of political figures that you do not support (The DNC asking for taxpayer funding is a great example of this). It’s a two-way street; if money spent is a protected right, then money taken without permission should be considered a violation of that right.



It’s as simple as that.




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