SCOTUS Reviews Big Labor’s Forced Political Interest-Free Loans


In Knox v SEIU, the illogic of requiring non-union members to provide interest-free loans for Big Labor political activities comes under the Supreme Court’s scrutiny. In this National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation case, Dianne Knox and others challenge SEIU’s special assessment to members and non-members for its “$12 million Political Fight-Back Fund” that essentially created a mandatory interest-free loan from non-members’ dues for political purposes they opposed.

From the Supreme Court transcript:

Supreme Court Justice Alito: Suppose that the proponents of Propositions 75 and 76 had come to the union and said, would you please give us an interest-free loan for money because we want to use this money to — to persuade the electorate to enact these; but don’t worry because we’re going to pay it back right after the election, when we’ve achieved our electoral ends. Would — would the union provide the money because it’s all going to come out in the wash?

SEIU Lawyer Jeremiah Collins: I — I really can’t answer that question. I don’t know. I –

JUSTICE ALITO: Well, I — gee, I really doubt that you — that they would. But what’s the difference? If you look at this from the perspective of a nonmember who doesn’t want those ballot initiatives to be defeated, saying that we’re going to give you your money back — we’re going to use your money to achieve a political end that you oppose, but don’t worry because we’re going to give it back to you next year after we’ve achieved our political end — how does that solve the problem? [Emphasis added]

Indeed, how does this solve the problem of compulsory unionism? It does not. Forcing people to pay dues or make political contributions against their will, even if some portions maybe refunded, fails to meet any standard of personal liberty. While union bosses may ridiculously argue that monopoly bargaining is a labor union’s civil right, without Right to Work Freedom, it tramples on individual freedom. In this case, SEIU trampled on the political freedoms of Dianne Knox and all the other non-union members under the SEIU-State of California’s collective bargaining agreement.

This case is worth watching and a decision in this case likely will be issued soon.