1. Majority Opinion
a. Yes, but only with regard to compulsory fees for union social
activities, not with regard to collective bargaining. The majority
deals with each of Ps’ two claims in turn.
b. As to Ps’ first claim that it was a First Am. violation to
have to pay service fees that were used for the costs of maintaining
a collective bargaining system, the Court holds otherwise. It
happens that a union does many things re collective bargaining that
non-union members object to. But the such union activity is
justified by the legislative assessment of the important contribution
by the union shop to the system of labor relations established by
Congress. The government interest in having labor unions and shops
is compelling—labor peace—and this outweighs the individual rights
[i.e., First Am. rights) of non-voting members. Thus, the First Am.
does not protect a non-union member’s being forced to pay service
fees to collective bargaining.
c. As to Ps’ second claim that it was a First Am. violation of their
First Am. right to freely associate to pay fees for union various
social activities (i.e., political, economic, religious, etc.) which
they did not ideologically agree with, the Court agreed. At the
heart of the First Am. is the notion that an individual should be
free to believe as he will, and that in a free society one’s beliefs
should be shaped by his mind and his conscience rather than coerced
by the state. This strong First Am. right is not outweighed by union
spending on social activities (i.e., political candidates, political
views, etc.), since these activities have nothing to do with labor
piece and thus are not a compelling government interest (unlike
collective bargaining). But a union can spend dues on political
candidates, political views, or toward the advancement of other
ideological causes unrelated to collective bargaining as long as the
employees do not object.
1. Dave says this means that if union gives money to AFL-CIO, it
better make sure it has the consent of all the non-union members.
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