Friedrichs Ruling Safeguard Public Workers' Bargaining Rights, For Now

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a 4-4 decision in the Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association case, keeping in place a lower court ruling that upheld the right of public workers to engage in meaningful collective bargaining.

Labor law requires that a union must represent all workers in the bargaining unit. Under the fair share system, workers who choose not to join the union that the majority has approved still benefit from the union representation. These workers are required to pay their fair share of the costs of that representation from which they benefit. The plaintiffs in the Friedrichs case were looking to outlaw the fair share system for public workers, making union representation more difficult to sustain.

The case had been financed by anti-worker and corporate education supporters who have been working for years to stifle the voices of teachers and other public workers and weaken their collective bargaining rights. It clearly shows how extreme the right-wing assault on workers and their right to bargain, whether public or private sector, has become.