TUKWILA — Today the U.S. Supreme Court delivered a victory to working people in its decision in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association. The court’s 4-4 decision leaves intact the precedent set by Abood v. Detroit Board of Education that has served as law for four decades.  

“Today’s ruling affirms 40 years of precedent that working people have the right to a strong and effective union. Union rights are fundamental to an economy that works for all Americans. The Supreme Court rejected a political scheme to silence working people,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117.

The Friedrichs case challenged the constitutionality of fair-share fees. These are the fees paid by non-union members who share the wages, benefits and working conditions collectively bargained for them by their union. The fees are used to cover the cost of bargaining and do not go towards political activity.

“The ruling is a setback for the corporate anti-worker forces behind the case. These groups will continue their fight to deny workers a voice on the job. It is more important than ever that we empower our members to stand up and demand an economy that works for them,” said John Scearcy.

This decision means that for now public sector workers will maintain their ability to build strength through a strong membership and negotiate to improve their workplaces.

This is yet another reminder of the constant attack on the American middle class. Although Freidrichs is no longer the immediate threat, there are other groups with a clear agenda to defund and bleed unions of our ability fight for working people.

As union members we must stand together in the face of these attacks so that future generations have the same rights and opportunities as we do. Teamsters 117 public sector members are engaging with each other through the Every Voice Counts campaign. This internal organizing work is about finding out what matters most to people, member to member, and building union pride.  Member engagement is the key to building a strong union.