Supreme Court takes up debate over union dues - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Supreme Court takes up debate over union dues

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Last week, there was a huge rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court, as justices heard arguments that could have significant consequences for labor unions. (WFSB) Last week, there was a huge rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court, as justices heard arguments that could have significant consequences for labor unions. (WFSB)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

A debate over union dues is in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court, and the outcome could affect teachers and other public employees nationwide.

Justices have previously said fees were appropriate because employees benefit from collective bargaining.

Last week, there was a huge rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court, as justices heard arguments that could have significant consequences for labor unions.

Some states allow unions to collect fees from those who benefit from collective bargaining efforts.

A group of California teachers wants to opt out of the union, and feel they should not have to pay any dues at all.

They said dues are political and violate their free speech.

"I think it would be a major blow to unions because they would lose a lot of money,” said Bill Dunlap, who is a law professor at Quinnipiac University.

He said if the teachers are successful, it could have a big impact on many states, particularly those in Right to Work states, where there are many non-unionized public workers.

It could also send a strong message to unions everywhere, and some feel it could affect wages and benefits.

"We take unilateral transfers from people in Right to Work states who come to Connecticut because we have the ability to represent people,” said David Orr, of the Norwalk Police Union.

Most states and municipal employees in Connecticut are unionized, but the concern is unions would get less money.

Connecticut’s largest teacher’s union said political interests are a small part of what is spent.

"At the CEA, the amount of money that ends up supporting political candidates is about one tenth of 1 percent of our entire budget,” said Don Williams, of the Connecticut Education Association.

Unions like the CEA point out that there is an option to opt out of having dues go to political issues and candidates.

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