Friedrichs Supreme Court case: Our fight must continue

Justice Antonin Scalia’s death leaves our nation’s highest court, by most assessments, a divided 4-4 body. As many of you know, the court was due to rule on an anti-union lawsuit, known as Friedrichs vs. California Teachers Association.

You can read more about the case below.

The implications of Scalia’s death for Friedrichs are uncertain. Here is our union law firm’s initial take on the matter:

“This increases the likelihood of a 4-4 decision in the pending Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association case. The effect of a 4-4 decision is that the Ninth Circuit’s prior decision is affirmed. Alternatively, the U.S. Supreme Court may simply dismiss the Friedrichs case entirely and issue no decision at all. If either of these results occur, there will be no change to U.S. labor law as a result of this litigation.”

No change, in this case, equals victory for working people.

Is the fight over? Not by a long-shot. We must band together so that our voices – not just corporate interests’ – are heard in Washington, D.C. We must continue to transform and #UniteFIghtWin for good jobs, quality public services, and better government.

Regardless of the outcome, we do know that a handful of billionaires are pushing dozens of other cases just like Friedrichs through the lower courts to advance their extreme agenda to keep wages low and avoid paying their fair share for good schools and safe and healthy communities.

No Supreme Court case or any of the other billionaires’ tactics can shake our resolve to make sure that we are prepared not only to withstand these attacks but to win for working people.

Will you join us?


Friedrichs vs. California Teachers Association

Other than who will be elected president this year, there are few other decisions as important to working families as a pending U.S. Supreme Court ruling that could weaken public workers’ right to come together and fight against wealthy special interests.

The case is Friedrichs vs. California Teachers Association, aimed at restricting workers’ ability to pool our collective resources in order to lift up our families and our communities. It is another in a series of attacks against working moms and dads and our ability to organize.

Union Density

At issue is whether states could allow public-employee unions to collect fees from non-members to cover the costs of workplace negotiations. A Supreme Court ruling nearly four decades ago (Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, 1977) said, “Yes,” recognizing that collective bargaining required resources from all workers being represented.

The sole reason the Supreme Court is revisiting this case is billionaires and special interests want to stop people from joining together to build a country where everyone makes enough to sustain their families. If supporters of Friedrichs win, we will have to work twice as hard to unite, fight and win for working families.

“We can’t underestimate the damage these groups are trying to do to working people. They won’t be satisfied until we have no voice. If we don’t unite now, every future battle will be harder.”
– Sonja Bennett, Administrative Coordinator, Department of Human Services

When union participation is high, we’ve seen gains for families and communities like higher pay and stronger public services.

We need to build our strength now to push back these attacks on workers’ rights. Union rights can no longer be taken for granted.”
– Jim Heaney, COPE Chair, Santa Cruz County

Become a member today by going to Only when we stick together can we fight back wealthy special interests and their agenda to game the tax system, leaving the rest of us to pick up the tab for schools and public safety.

“We can’t be complacent in our right to organize. We need to stand up for ourselves, our children, and every working person who has already lost their union.”
– Alysia Bonner, First Vice President, Fresno County

The power of workers organizing for the common good was most recently shown when backers of an anti-public pension ballot measure withdrew their initiative.

They publicly stated they would wait until after the Friedrichs decision because they will have a better chance if unions are weakened.

“We can come together and overcome this challenge, but we need to organize and work. The time is now.”
– Gwyn Harshaw , SEIU Local 521 President

The time to stand together is now.
Invest in our SEIU Committee on Political Education today to #UniteFightWin together!

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