The SEIU mob won’t like this one bit.
It’s a great day for freedom. While the Supreme Court has postponed announcing their ruling on ObamaCare and Arizona Immigration, they did issue a decision in the Knox v. SEIU case. A strong 7-2 vote ruled, not only against the SEIU, but against all labor unions.
The Supreme Court says a union must give nonmembers an immediate chance to object to unexpected fee increases that all workers are required to pay in closed-shop situations.
The court on Thursday ruled for Dianne Knox and other nonmembers of the Service Employees International Union’s Local 1000, who wanted to object and opt out of a $12 million special assessment the union required from its California public sector members. Knox and others said the union did not give them a legally required notice that the increase was coming.
The union, and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, said the annual notice that the union gives was sufficient. The high court disagreed in a 7-2 judgment written by Justice Samuel Alito.
Update: Forbes has more on the ramifications of today’s ruling. The court ruled that employees made can’t be forced to effectively lend money to the union for political activities they disagree with. Wow!
… The Court, in a 48-page opinon by Justice Samuel Alito, held that employees can be required to pay dues in exchange for the benefits they get from collective bargaining, but can’t be forced to effectively lend money to the union for political activities they disagree with. It was a blow to the Service Employees International Union, which first tried to make the case moot by offering refunds, and then argued it would be too difficult to get the assent of non-members before launching a campaign to defeat legislation it considered a threat to its existence. …
The decision, coming a short time after Gov. Scott Walker survived a union-led recall campaign in Wisconsin, further undermines the power of public-sector unions to compel employees to pay for their operations.The Supreme Court has uneasily upheld laws that require all employees to pay the equivalent of union dues to cover the costs of collective bargaining and other benefits they receive, under the theory it helps maintain “labor peace” by discouraging free-riders. Alito, in this decision, called that policy an “anomaly” given the strong First Amendment right against compelled speech or membership in any organization.
Unions are supposed to separate out political expenses and give non-members a so-called “Hudson notice” explaining the split and giving them the opportunity to pay only the non-political share of expenses. In this case, SEIU passed a special assessment after the Hudson notice, charging employees a 25% dues increase for an emergency “Fight-Back Fund” to defeat Proposition 75, which would have limited public-sector union rights.
Several non-members sued, saying they were being compelled to give the union money for a political cause they disagreed with. The union offered to refund non-members the previous year’s percentage rate of political spending but they rejected that, saying the fund was clearly all for political purposes.
The court, in its decision, said it was unfair to require non-members to file lawsuits or take other action to avoid paying for speech they disagree with. There’s no balancing of the “right” of unions to collect dues against employees’ First Amendment rights, the court said, since unions have “no constitutional entitlement to the fees of nonmember-employees.”
Worse, in this case, Prop. 75 would have bolstered non-member rights by requiring their consent in future political spending. Thus the effect of the procedure was to force non-members “to subsidize a political effort designed to restrict their own rights.”