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For the past few months, AFA has been considering how a Trump-appointed Supreme Court Justice might impact the state of our union.

Last January, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, in which lawyers for Friedrichs sought to overturn a long settled precedent, Abood v. Detroit Board of Education (1977), which allowed public sector unions to charge service fees to non-members whom the union represented in collective bargaining, so as to help cover the costs of that bargaining.

The Court was expected to overturn Abood, potentially crippling the ability of public sector unions to bargain effectively for public employees, but Antonin Scalia's death in February left the court deadlocked at 4-4, giving precedence to the decision made by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which had ruled in favor of the CTA and Fair Share Service Fees.

Looking ahead once again, AFA anticipates the Supreme Court will revisit this matter in the near future, but this time with a Trump-appointed Justice on the bench. This Court will most likely rule against Fair Share Service Fees, thereby greatly undermining the strength and solidarity of labor unions across this country.

Make no mistake, this decision will hurt public sector unions, including AFA. Your bargaining rights may be diminished. Wages and benefits may shrink; working conditions may deteriorate. Rights and benefits of part time faculty, in particular, may be abridged, and, nationally, the ability of public sector unions to stand up for sanity and decency in our collective politics will be put at serious risk.

An important step you can take to push back is to join the union, and pay regular dues instead of a service fee. Paying dues allows you full, active membership in the union. No court decision can take that away from you. Join our membership; become an officer; participate in a council meeting.

Now is the time for you to begin actively participating in the business of your union. Join us.

See the recent Dialogue article "Don't mourn. Organize" for more information on challenges to union fair share fees.

  Phone: 707⁄527–4731 FAX: 707⁄524–1762 Last Update: 04/20/17