And a good thing, too.
Service Employees International Union, Local 1000, lives in a place where the streets are paved with gold. They are allowed a closed shop: if you want to work, you have to join the union, or pbay union dues anyway. But even so, they can’t make their members pay for their political advertising/strongarming/etc – they can only force non-members to pay for union stuff, not political ad stuff.
SEIU Local 1000 sent out their regular dues notice one fine summer morning, claiming that 56.35% of its total expenditures in the coming year would be dedicated to legitimate
collective-bargaining activities, and the remaining portions used for contributions to the Democratic party (or whatever else counts).
Shortly thereafter, two propositions for public referendum came to light: Propositions 75 and 76. Proposition 75 would have required unions to obtain employees’ consent before charging them fees to be used for political purposes, instead of the current opt-out method; Proposition 76 gave the Governor the ability under some circumstances to reduce state appropriations for public-employee compensation. Naturally, the unions viewed these with alarm. So they sent out a special notice, announcing an “Emergency Temporary Assessment to Build a Political Fight-Back Fund." It bumped up fees by 25% and did not allow anyone to opt-out.
To complaints, an SEIU area manager responded that “even if [the employee] objected to the payment of the full agency fee, there was nothing he could do about the September increase for the Assessment.” “She also stated that ‘we are in the fight of our lives,’ that the Assessment was needed, and that there was nothing that could be
done to stop the Union’s expenditure of that Assessment for political purposes.”
After the Supreme Court accepted cert, the SEIU suddenly remembered that there WAS something they could do, offered full refunds, and then asked the Court to rule that the matter was moot, since, hey, no harm, no foul.
Thankfully, that did not happen.
So: BZZZT! Nope.
And now, the meat of the matter: can SEIU chisel additional political fees out of non-members with no chance for them to say no?
Obviously, no. BZZZT to the Ninth Circuit for saying otherwise.
Another sharp, and well-deserved, rebuke to a public sector union. Yipppeee!