U.S. Supreme Court Rules in Davenport Case

On June 14, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously reversed a novel Washington State Supreme Court ruling that had discovered a “constitutional right” for union officials to spend dissenting employees’ mandatory dues on political causes they oppose.

By ruling, in Davenport v. Washington Education Association (WEA), that union officials have no constitutional right to spend employees’ forced dues for politics, the Supreme Court upheld the rights of Gary Davenport and more than 4,000 Washington teachers who are not union members, but who were nonetheless forced to pay union dues under erroneous State ruling.

The Los Angeles Times quotes Justice Antonia Scalia:

“Unions have no constitutional entitlement to the fees of nonmembers employees.”

In Davenport, the Supreme Court has thwarted an outrageous attempted power grab by union lawyers that could ultimately have gutted the 22 state Right to Work laws now on the books. These laws prohibit all forced union dues and fees. But the Court also brought into focus how ineffective “paycheck protection” campaign finance laws are in protecting employees laboring under forced unionism.

And, unfortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling reaffirmed that it would do nothing to stop the exaction of compulsory union dues as a condition of employment from private or public sector workers.

Unless and until the High Court changes its mind on this subject, remedying the fundamental abuse of compulsory union dues will require legislative action at both the federal and state levels.

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