The following comes from a Dec. 19 story on TheDailyCaller.com.
In April, a group of public school teachers filed a groundbreaking lawsuit against a powerful California teachers union — an organization that they contend has violated their First Amendment rights by forcing them to contribute money toward political causes with which they disagree.
Now, in an exclusive interview with The Daily Caller, lead plaintiff Rebecca Friedrichs, shared why she believes the California Teachers Association and National Education Association have violated her free speech and free expression rights.
“They aren’t defending my interests,” she said. “I should be able to decide without fear of coercion whether I want a union to represent my needs.”
California is a “closed shop” state, meaning all public school teachers are forced to pay union dues, regardless of whether they wish to be in a union or not. The union then bargains on their behalf, and even lobbies for certain political outcomes that union leadership claims will help teachers.
But Friedrichs [who teaches in the Savanna School District in Buena Park] said she doesn’t agree with her union’s political advocacy or its collective bargaining efforts.
“Within collective bargaining, the union just continually pushes for teacher tenure,” said Friedrichs. “So you work three years and now you have a permanent job. Say you do something criminal or you’re just not a very strong teacher, and a better teacher comes along, say an outstanding teacher who is dynamic and children are learning, and … the school cannot let go of the tenured position. That’s troubling to me.”
Friedrichs opposes tenure and supports school choice vouchers, but her union lobbies for precisely the opposite causes. Not only does this hurt her students, but it violates her First Amendment rights, she said.
“I’ve been teaching for 26 years, and throughout those years I’ve been forced to pay dues to the union,” she said. “The union hierarchy, I don’t think they have any idea what goes on in the classroom. They obviously don’t understand the economy. They are harming my students.”
She isn’t the only one who feels that way. Friedrichs said she knows many teachers agree with her, and feel silenced by their union. Nine other teachers have joined her suit….
Since only the Supreme Court could decide such a significant First Amendment matter, Pell hopes to speed the case along as quickly as possible.
Earlier this month, federal district court proved amenable. Judge Josephine Staton allowed the case to proceed to the Ninth Circuit Court — the next step in its journey to the Supreme Court.
Whether the case makes it all the way — and whether the justices will be sympathetic — remains to be seen. But Pell thinks the conservative majority is very much open to his argument. In the 2012 case Knox v. SEIU, a five-justice majority essentially invited a challenge to mandatory dues collection, said Pell….
Read more here.