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0 comments | June 28, 2007 | 3:57 PM | posted by Ryan

The NEA convention is held around July 4th every year. This year, the convention will be held in Philadelphia.

Delegates have reported that the NEA is keeping the proposals on its agenda under wraps. They speculate this may be because the NEA wants to avoid the public relations disaster it experienced last year with the proposals on homosexuality.

EFF is planning a surprise of its own too.

Last year, EFF rented a billboard truck and plastered it with signs telling about:

This year, EFF will unveil another surprise. The only hint: We'll be there!

Stay tuned for details!

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0 comments | 10:09 AM | posted by Ryan

This letter to the editor is a good read:

Union thwarts court - The Washington Education Association (WEA) owes a fine of $590,375 for breaking the law.

After Initiative 134 passed in 1992, the WEA arranged a sweetheart deal with then-Attorney General Chris Gregoire that allowed them to spend a portion of union dues collected from teachers for political purposes without the union members permission. The WEA also found it convenient to do the same with agency fees collected from non-union teachers.

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0 comments | June 27, 2007 | 11:18 AM | posted by Ryan

In Utah, the legislature passed the “Voluntary Contribution Act” (VCA), a form of paycheck protection, in 2001. The law wasn’t implemented until a few years later, but when it was, voluntary contributions to union Political Action Committees (PAC) plummeted. In fact, some union PAC’s had to closer their doors.

Utah is one of the 22 Right to Work state where workers do not have to join or pay a union unless they want. In these states, unions are completely voluntary. But as you will see, workers still need their paychecks protected.

Before the VCA was implemented, 68 percent of the Utah Education Association’s members contributed to the union’s PAC. Remember, each contribution was from a member who voluntarily joined the union.

Yet the year the VCA was enacted, contributions to the UEA’s PAC dropped from 68 percent of members to almost 7 percent. Why? We can only assume that most teachers were unaware that they had a choice. They learned that they didn’t have to support the UEA officials’ political agenda if they didn’t want to.

The drop in voluntary contributions has significantly reduced the UEA’s ability to protect the status quo and fund its political agenda. The UEA was unable to stop the Utah Legislature from passing some school choice and voucher laws earlier this year, so the UEA put the laws on the ballot in the form of an initiative, hoping voters will reject them.

With its PAC funds significantly cut, though, union officials are struggling to fund the campaign. One way UEA officials have circumvented the dilemma, though, is by using public facilities and funds to underwrite their campaign.

The most recent example is the Salt Lake City School District’s latest newsletter. The newsletter’s focus is “choice” and the lead article argues that “Salt Lake City Schools Are ‘Your Best Choice.’” While not overtly campaigning, the newsletter insinuates that the status quo, which is favored by the UEA, grants all the “choice” necessary for a quality education. This use of public mailing lists, printers, funds and other resources undermines the school choice and voucher laws and could be illegal.

While it is unfortunate that paycheck protection laws force union bosses to engage in illegal activity, they reveal them, and their morals, for who they are.

To read the article on the UEA’s schemes and listen to the news report, click here: District Newsletter Flirts with Vouchers and State Law

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0 comments | June 25, 2007 | 4:30 PM | posted by Ryan

A column in today’s Everett Herald, "Rulings could stem public-sector union actions," covers the case and emphasizes some points I mentioned last week about how the Davenport victory reflects on the Washington State Supreme Court.

Right off, the column jumps into a time machine as it reminisces about what it calls “simpler times” including the Cold War era. Yes, you’re probably wondering as I was how many could be nostalgic for the age of mutually assured destruction, but the author vocalizes its simplicity in comparison to today’s “complexity.”

What does the Cold War have to do with the Davenport victory? Yes, I wonder the same, and as you can guess from such an opening, the article takes an eternity to read. As such, a time machine might do you some good.

The article covers:

  • The economic theory behind unions: Unions restrict the supply of labor to raise wages for its members,
  • The emergence of the global economy in the 70’s and the Labor Movement’s resultant shift to the public sector,
  • The politicization of the Labor Movement (the inevitable result of unionizing the public sector),
  • Public sector unions’ growing dominance of the Labor Movement,
  • The rise of “agency shop” provisions,
  • And finally how union political involvement and agency shop provisions necessitated the Davenport decision.

The article concludes:

“Unions wielding political power aren't exactly new, but the shift from private enterprise to the public sector still has economists off balance, for the economic issues are often buried under political agendas. It was simpler when the coal miners or the auto workers wanted more money. But that's just nostalgia, isn't it.”

What? Back to economics? The author put together some good points and is right all around, but he lost the “simplicity” part of his own message.

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2 comments | June 22, 2007 | 2:51 PM | posted by Ryan

Republican Presidential Candidate Fred Thompson weighed in on the Davenport victory in an op-ed published on Townhall.com. In “Union Dues and Secret Ballots,” Thompson addresses union coercion and why unions are having to resort to coercive organizing and coercive political activism. In short, because, “In the last 25 or so years, private sector union membership has dropped from about 19 percent to under 8 percent today.” In fact, “Most decertification votes, giving workers the chance to end union representation, go against the unions.”

Why are unions losing the hearts and minds of the American workforce?

“…[T]hey often focus on politics instead of supporting their members. Last week, in fact, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously against a Washington state teachers union that had been spending dues on political activities -- against the wishes of individual teachers. Some of those who protested the use of the funds weren't even union members but had to pay to keep their teachers' jobs.”

Unions give a lot of their members'-- and nonmembers'-- dues to political candidates, and they're really good at providing free labor to campaigns. So they have a lot of influence in certain parts of congress. That may explain, for example, why the House Appropriations Committee is apparently planning to cut the budget of the Office of Labor Management Services -- the office that investigates illegalities by unions.

Thompson concludes with a middle-of-the-road, but intellectually honest statement that is completely in line with Constitutional principals upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court Justices last week.

“In America, we need the right to join a union. We also need the right not to join a union.”

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1 comments | 2:13 PM | posted by Ryan

Yesterday, Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna was given the nationally acclaimed Supreme Court Best Brief Award by the National Association of Attorney Generals, in part, for his involvement in the Davenport victory.

The AG’s win in Washington v. WEA, which was consolidated with Davenport v. WEA, gave the Washington AG’s office a 5-0 record before the U.S. Supreme Court this year.
McKenna gave the credit to his top-notch staff.
“This award, coupled with our 5-for-5 record before the US Supreme Court this year, demonstrates the tremendous expertise and experience in our office, which is why we are considered one of the best public law offices in the nation.”
It was an honor to stand alongside the AG in this important fight for the First Amendment rights of Washington state teachers and workers all across the country.
Click HERE to read the AG’s press release (McKenna briefed on MySpace.com, leads tobacco settlement progress at national meeting of attorneys general). The relevant paragraphs are at the bottom of the release.

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0 comments | 1:36 PM | posted by Ryan

George Archibald, a national and investigative reporter for The Washington Times for 20 years, and nominated four times by The Washington Times for a Pulitzer Prize, wrote a great piece on the case. In fact, the title of the piece, “Freedom Matters,” rather mirrors EFF’s theme, “…Because Freedom Matters.”

[T]he Washington state supreme court ruled that public school educator unions could use mandatory dues of union members for political purposes they did not agree to. The United States Supreme Court said no in a unanimous ruling…

Woomba. Freedom matters (emphasis added).

He then goes on to expose union officials for what they are.

Let’s face it: Unions are socialist collectivist enterprises that exist just for their own self-interest. Their officers at all levels receive obscenely high pay and benefits at the expense of union members. Democrat more than Republican politicians cow-tow to these union people, who have vehemently opposed school improvement measures such as President Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act to force more rigor into taxpayer-funded American public education from kindergarten through 12th grade.

Let me interject here that EFF did something similar at the NEA’s convention in Orlando, Florida last summer. EFF rented a billboard truck and created some graphics to reveal the fat cat lifestyles of union bosses. For example, while the average teacher salary is $47,808 a year, nearly half of NEA employees receive more than $100,000 a year.

Archibald’s piece concludes by tying in an important concern felt by America’s Founders.

John Adams asked Thomas Jefferson in one of many letters between the two men over many years: “Who shall write the history of the American Revolution? Who can write it? Who will ever be able to write it?”

Good question. It’s still an unfolding story these days with global implications. Freedom matters (emphasis added).

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3 comments | June 21, 2007 | 11:43 AM | posted by Booker T.

Yesterday, Dori Monson, a talk show host on KIRO Radio, 710 AM, talked about the Davenport victory.

Click HERE to listen to the Davenport segment.

When introducing the topic, Dori said:

“So the liberal Washington State Supreme Court was revealed as being essentially just a judicial arm of the WEA because the U.S. Supreme Court, liberals and conservatives alike, it was a stunning unanimous 9-0 ruling overturned the Washington State Supreme Court edict.”

Dori's guest was a high school teacher from Warden, Washington, Angie Dorman, who was among the 35 teachers who attended the oral arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court on January 10, 2007. Angie is a well-spoken advocate for the teachers who are standing up for their First Amendment rights.

Throughout the course of the interview, Angie described why she is no longer a union member and objects to the union's political use of non-member fees. She also described how her trip to the U.S. Supreme Court affected her perspective of the Court system and the federal government. She said that, as she watched the oral arguments, she though, "Oh my God! People actually represent me! ...Whether we were talking about Souter, Ginsberg, Scalia, Roberts, the whole thing... they were sitting there... and they basically said 'You guys [the Washington Supreme Court and WEA] are way out there.'"

In concluding, Dori stated that the WEA is “...the most destructive force in educating our kids...”

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0 comments | June 20, 2007 | 5:49 PM | posted by Ryan

EFF CEO Lynn Harsh and LPC Director Mike Reitz respond to your questions on a short video.

Click on the picture or click here for a high resolution video or here for a low resolution video.

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0 comments | 3:20 PM | posted by Ryan

Were politics a factor in the Washington State Supreme Court’s 6-3 Davenport decision? Very few have suggested it is, but Tracy Warner, a columnist at the Wenatchee World, believes politics played a huge part in the state justice’s decision.

Tracey poses the question: what if a Big Oil corporation had negotiated a contract with state officials requiring state workers to purchase only from that company or be fired, and the Big Oil company had charged an extra fee to fund its political campaign contributions in the state.

Would the state supreme court have ruled that requiring the Big Oil company to ask permission before spending that extra fee on politics is “entirely too much trouble for the company and detract from its political efforts” so much that it violates its First Amendment rights of free speech and free association?If the Court had supported Big Oil, would the public have remained mum about Big Oil's influence over justice?

Of course the answer is an emphatic “No!”

“If this had actually happened you could expect someone to suggest the Washington court let politics sway its view of the law, and that it appeared the court's sympathy for powerful and munificent Exxon had overcome its legal logic. People would madly question Big Oil's extreme influence over government, even the courts.”
Unions have not been shy about extending their influence to include the state’s Supreme Court justices. During last year’s Supreme Court race, unions, including the SEIU, and liberal groups formed “FairPAC,” raising $101,000 by early August.

Besides a Seattle Times editorial suggesting that the Washington State Supreme Court was “too deferential to political interests,” where is the outcry?

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0 comments | 1:05 PM | posted by Ryan

An article in the Olympian today highlights a point that has been largely overlooked to date. While the WEA is the ultimate looser in the Davenport victory, the Washington state Supreme Court is the biggest—the six justices who found a way to twist the First Amendment to protect the rights of unions (campaign contributors) over the rights of individual teachers.

Justice Scalia wrote that the six Washington state Supreme Court justices were wrong on two counts:

  • First, the Washington State Supreme Court applied a test to balance what they thought were the competing rights of teachers and unions. Justice Scalia pointed out, however, that this balancing test doesn’t exist.
“[The agency-fee cases] were not balancing constitutional rights in the manner [the WEA and the Washington State Supreme Court] suggests, for the simple reason that unions have no constitutional entitlement to the fees of nonmember-employees.”
  • Second, even if the bogus balancing test the Washington State Supreme Court applied existed, the six justices applied it wrongly. It should have been balanced in favor of individual teachers.
“[C]ourts have an obligation to interfere with a union’s statutory entitlement no more than is necessary to vindicate the rights of non-members…”

In the same sense, the citizens of Washington are losers because, as Mr. DeForest noted:

"We, the people, look to the state Supreme Court to uphold the Constitution of this country. This decision by the U.S. Supreme Court says very clearly (albeit not in so many words) that the six state supreme court justices voting to uphold the WEA did not understand and/or correctly apply the First Amendment to the Constitution."

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0 comments | June 19, 2007 | 4:34 PM | posted by Ryan

The Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) was profiled in a OneNewsNow.com article highlighting the Davenport victory.

You can listen to the report HERE.

"The head of the Pacific Justice Institute is hailing a Supreme Court ruling he says will protect the free-speech rights of teachers who have moral or religious objections to their union's political agenda."
PJI joined more than 30 other organizations by filing an amicus brief in support of Washington state teachers whose First Amendment rights had been trampled on by their union, the Washington Education Association.

In the article, PJI says it "could not agree more with the court's ruling in Davenport v. Washington Education Association." PJI President Brad Dacus also calls the court's ruling "a watershed decision" that will inspire other states to adopt similar paycheck protection bills."

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1 comments | 1:17 PM | posted by Ryan

Fox News reported today that the Democratic presidential candidates are lining up to woo unions for their endorsements, volunteers and cash (an amount certain to exceed the estimated more than $250 million spent in the last presidential election.).

“Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, begins union speeches with 'Solidarity Forever!' Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., advocated for union nurses fighting for a new contract at Finley Hospital in Dubuque, Iowa, in April. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., relocated an important Chicago fundraiser because it had been booked in a nonunion locale.”

John Edwards tried to top them off though, by issuing a statement criticizing the victory the U.S. Supreme Court handed teachers and other workers. Edwards’ statement clearly indicated he believes unions should be able to force teachers and workers to give him political contributions. He characterized the decision as, “upholding a Washington state law that made it more difficult for unions to use fees from workers they represent to support the union's political advocacy.”

He then grossly misconstrued some analogies, including equating unions with corporations.

"Corporations don't have to ask for shareholders' approval when they hire lobbyists, run ads or make campaign contributions to candidates running for governor. I believe labor unions have at least as great a right to be heard in the political process. Fortunately, Washington state has fixed its law. But if other states were to take advantage of the Court's unwise precedent today, it would silence the political voice of working families."

Edwards’ characterizations are wrong from both from the perspective of shareholders and from the perspective of consumers.

  • Shareholders are not forced to maintain ownership of the shares of a company they disagree with. They can simply sell.
  • Consumers are free to shop where they want, whether at a neighborhood supermarket or another across the street. Consumers can spend their money whenever and however they want.

Unions have a special right when it comes to collecting dues and fees. Justice Scalia wrote, “unions have no constitutional entitlement to the fees of nonmember-employees.” Later he wrote, “It is undeniably unusual for a government agency to give a private entity the power, in essence, to tax government employees.”

If it is unusual for the government to give a private organization the ability to tax employees, it must be even more unusual for corporations to have the ability to tax shareholders and employees.

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2 comments | 9:36 AM | posted by Ryan

The Seattle Times laid into the Washington Education Association this morning. In an editorial called, “WEA ducks and weaves after Supreme Court loss,” Times editors condemned the WEA and its allies in the Governor’s mansion and Legislature for conspiring to undermine the First Amendment rights of workers by passing a law to undermine the U.S. Supreme Court's decision.

“We understand why it was done that way: The Democrats get most union contributions, and they want large ones. But co-mingling amounts to a kind of money laundering, and the Legislature and governor never should have approved it.”

The Editors concluded that the WEA should have two accounts; one for representing workers, another for politics and organizing.

“Everyone the union represents would pay into the first account under the same formula, but only the members would pay into the second one. That way, the rights of the nonmembers would be protected and the members could see what the optional expenses were costing them.”
The proposal could be a decent solution. Teachers should be proud to see the Seattle Times standing next to them in this fight.

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0 comments | June 18, 2007 | 10:45 AM | posted by Ryan

Remember back when the Washington State Supreme Court issued its verdict for Davenport (which, by the way, took 24 months to issue)? In his dissent from the majority, Justice Sanders predicted the U.S. Supreme Court would overturn the Washington State Supreme Court 9-0. To be honest, even I thought his projection seemed a little ludicrous, but he was right.

Association of Washington Businesses blogger, Richard Davis, reminds us of Justice Sanders’ prediction in a post from Thursday.

“The decision is a great vindication of our own Justice Richard Sanders, who [also criticizing the "mistaken rationale" of the majority on the Washington Supreme Court, in his] dissent at our state court. The case also vindicates the judgment and prowess of Attorney General Rob McKenna who made his first argument before the US Supreme Court in arguing the case.”
We agree. Props to Justice Sanders.

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10 comments | June 15, 2007 | 5:26 PM | posted by Ryan

Many of you have questions about the U.S. Supreme Court victory.

  • How does it affect the laws in Washington state?
  • How does it affect the ability of other states to protect workers rights?
  • Is the ruling broad or narrow?
  • How does HB 2079, the union-backed legislation that eviscerated the state’s paycheck protection law, affect the victory?

If you do, post your questions in the comment section below and EFF CEO Lynn Harsh will answer your questions in a video blog early next week.

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0 comments | 5:20 PM | posted by Ryan

Here is a video of EFF's press conference on Thursday, June 14, 2007.

Click here or on the picture for a high resolution video.
Click here for a low resolution video.

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0 comments | 5:01 PM | posted by Ryan

The Evergreen Freedom Foundation was not alone in its fight for the First Amendment rights of American workers. Here are some links to what some of these partners are saying about the case. I'll post more links as they come in.

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0 comments | 4:56 PM | posted by Ryan

WorldNetDaily wrote an article on the case and even used one of our graphics.

Teachers' free speech trumps union politics – Supreme Court calls claim labor has 'right' to financing 'immaterial'

The article includes quotes from Diane Lenning, Cindy Omlin, Karen Petty
Here is an article from USA Today: Supreme Court upholds fee burden on unions - Non-members can stay apolitical

Finally, SCOTUS Blog posted on the case again, More on the Decision in Davenport v. WEA. This Harvard law student needs to learn accuracy and get his fact straight, or at least source them. His statement, “most [agency fee payers] do not strongly object to the use of a small amount of their union fees” is unfounded. I have talked with many agency fee payers and most object to the political use of their fees.

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0 comments | 2:29 PM | posted by Ryan

In this editorial, the Wall Street Journal ties in the U.S. Supreme Court’s Davenport decision with the Employee Free Choice Act, which bans secret ballot votes for ratification election in favor of card check drives in which union officials can “recruit” signers at work, at home and anywhere in-between.

“In a rebuke to the coercive tactics of Big Labor, the Supreme Court ruled yesterday that states may require unions to get permission from nonmembers before using their dues money for political activities. The decision is especially timely, given that next week Senate Democrats are scheduled to vote to eliminate secret-ballot elections for union organizing.”

“As more U.S. workers have refused to join unions, Big Labor has become more reliant on coercion, and Democrats are trying to make that arm-twisting easier… President Bush has vowed to veto the bill, but it's also encouraging that the Supreme Court has now rejected this union ploy of dues coercion disguised as ‘free speech.’”

Read more here.

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0 comments | 2:01 PM | posted by Ryan

A Vancouver Columbian reporter asked the Governor's office to comment on the Davenport ruling becasue "[i]t was Gregoire, as attorney general, who originally argued the constitutionality of the Fair Campaign Practices Act in 2004."

"Lars Ericksen, a spokesman for the governor, said she would have no comment
on the Supreme Court ruling"

Read more at "McKenna calls decision 'important victory' for workers."

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0 comments | June 14, 2007 | 4:55 PM | posted by Ryan

The AG released his press release a few hours ago. Here is a link to it as well as some quotes.

"Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna won his first case before the United States Supreme Court today, persuading the Court to unanimously uphold a state initiative requiring unions to obtain prior permission from non-members before using their representation fees for political purposes."

"When non-union members in Washington are required to pay fees to the union as a condition of employment, there is no reason to require them to bear the burden of affirmatively objecting to prevent the union from using their money to promote political issues or candidates they do not support,” McKenna stated. “Workers who have already said ‘no’ to joining a union should not be required to say ‘no’ a second time to prevent their money from being spent for political purposes."

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0 comments | 11:43 AM | posted by Ryan

U.S. Supreme Court issues ruling in Washington vs. WEA

I'll comment on it later.


The WEA mentions multiple times that they didn't understand the law and that the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC), which oversee's enforcement of campaign finance regulations, would not clarify the law.

WEA president Charles Hasse said, "All along we've sought clarification on this murky, poorly-written statute. Based on this ruling, it appears that the State Supreme Court must now clarify the intent of the statute as it stood when this lawsuit was filed."

I must make a correction, though. I attended a PDC hearing yesterday, June 13, 2007, which wa held, in part, to prevent such assertions of confusing language and application from unions. During the meeting, PDC Executive Director Vicki Rippie said that she could only count 1.5 to 2 times in which union requested clarification from the PDC on 42.17.760, the state's paycheck protection law. Jim Oswald from the Washington State Labor Council (the AFL-CIO umbrella organization overseeing, in part, union lobbying and political activity) agreed saying that, in his recollection, the unions only asked for clarification 1.5 to 2 times. WEA attorney Harriet Strassburg was sitting at the table and didn't correct Mr. Oswald's comment.

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0 comments | 11:37 AM | posted by Ryan

Here is a list of press releases and news articles on the case:

EFF press release: Teachers and EFF Win Unanimous Victory at U.S. Supreme Court

Click here to Google Search news stories on the Davenport ruling.

Wall Street Journal: High Court Rules Diplomats Owe New York City Taxes (and Rules 9-0 for Davenport) – The U.S. Supreme Court Thursday, voting 9-0, backed a Washington state law that bars public-sector labor unions from spending nonunion employee dues on political campaign spending without first getting permission from an employee.

Reuters, High court limits union use of nonmember fees - The Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously upheld a Washington state law that restricts how labor unions can use fees collected from nonmembers for political purposes.

The Columbian, Olympia think tank claims victory over Washington teachers union – The Evergreen Freedom Foundation says today's U.S. Supreme Court decision is a victory for the Olympia think tank in its battle against the state teachers union.
Evergreen's director of labor policy, Mike Reitz (rights), says the court ruled that the "First Amendment rights of teachers are not trumped by the union's ability to collect dues."


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0 comments | 11:28 AM | posted by Ryan

The Evergreen Freedom Foundation (EFF), the original complainant in the case and a non-partisan policy group based in Olympia, WA, will hold a press conference to discuss the impact of today's ruling.

The participants will give brief comments on the case and how it will affect workers in every state across the country. They will also be available to take questions.

WHO: The press conference will feature the following guests:

  • Bob Williams.– President of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation. The Foundation filed the original complaint against the Washington Education Association for using nonmember dues for political purposes in violation of state law.
  • Gary Davenport – The named plaintiff in the Davenport class action lawsuit brought by teachers against the WEA.
  • Steven T. O'Ban – Attorney representing the Davenport Class.

Offices of Ellis, Li & McKinstry PLLC
Two Union Square, 55th Floor
601 Union Street
Seattle, WA 98101-3906

WHEN: Today, Thursday, June 14, 2007 at 1:30PM

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0 comments | 9:39 AM | posted by Ryan

The U.S. Supreme Court said HB 2079’s changes to .760 did not affect its decision, nor the applicability of the ruling in Washington state. Scalia wrote that injuries occurred under the old law, that the old law was constitutional, and the WEA should still be subject to the fines for intentionally violating the law.

“Washington has since amended §760 to codify a narrower interpretation of ‘use’ of agency-shop fees than the interpretation adopted below by the state trial court that passed on that question. … As respondent concedes, however, id., at 3, these cases are not moot. … [I]t still matters whether the Supreme Court of Washington was correct to hold that that version was inconsistent with the First Amendment. Our analysis of whether §760’s affirmative-authorization requirement violates the constitutional rights of respondent is not affected by the amendment….” (Supreme Court ruling, page 3)

The U.S. Supreme Court remanded the decision back down to the trial court for implementation. When the lower court re-imposes its earlier judgment, it will have to determine how HB 2079’s changes should be applied.

As we said before, HB 2079 merely ensured that .760 stays embroiled in litigation. Attorney General Rob McKenna (AG) fully expects this to happen also. When legislators were considering changing the law, the AG wrote a letter listing the reasons why he believes the law may be unconstitutional and eventually struck down (the court ruled in Street and Abood that the accounting procedure HB 2079 implements is unconstitutional).

If a court eventually strikes HB 2079’s changes to .760, the law will revert back to its original form and the injunction, which gave detailed instructions on how the WEA was to comply with the law, will be in effect.

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0 comments | 9:38 AM | posted by Ryan

Here is a link to the Davenport brief.

The first section, the syllabus, contains most of the best quotes of the opinion.

Here are some choice quotes:

On page 5, Scalia writes, "It is undeniably unusual for a government agency to give a private entity the power to tax government employees."

  • “Unions have no constitutional entitlement to the fees of nonmember-employees.” (page 6)
  • “As applied to public-sector unions, §760 is not fairly described as a restriction on how the union can spend its money; it is a condition placed upon the union’s extraordinary state entitlement to acquire and spend other people’s money.” (page 8)
  • “Respondent’s improvident accounting practices do not render §760 unconstitutional. We note as well that, given current technology, it will not likely be burdensome for any nonmember who wishes to do so to provide affirmative authorization for use of his fees for electoral expenditures.” (footnote on page 8)
  • “We do not believe that the voters of Washington impermissibly distorted the marketplace of ideas when they placed a reasonable, viewpoint-neutral limitation on the State’s general authorization allowing public-sector unions to acquire and spend the money of government employees.” (page 10)

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0 comments | 8:29 AM | posted by Kristen

From the Seattle Times:

In a Washington state case, the U.S. Supreme Court said today that states may force public sector labor unions to get consent from workers before using their fees for political activities.

In a ruling issued today, the court unanimously upheld a Washington state law that applied to public employees who choose not to join the union that represents them in contract talks with state and local governments. The workers are compelled to pay the equivalent of union dues, a portion of which the union uses for political activities.

Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the court, said the law does not violate the union's First Amendment rights.

Read more here.

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0 comments | 7:24 AM | posted by Ryan

In a 9-0 decision this morning, the U.S. Supreme Court Justices ruled that states can require unions to get permission before spending dues on politics.

This long-awaited victory is a vindication of the free speech rights of Washington state teachers, and by extension, millions of workers throughout the country. Workers cannot be forced to make political contributions against their will.

I will keep you posted on developments throughout the day.

Read the SCOTUS Blog's short post on the decision here.

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0 comments | June 12, 2007 | 9:45 AM | posted by Ryan

In a post on the SCOTUS Blog yesterday, contributor Marty Lederman predicted that "Justice Scalia was probably assigned to write the merits majority in Davenport."

Mr. Lederman used to work for the law firm that represented the WEA and wants the union to prevail, so his prediction implies a positive outcome for teachers.

If Scalia writes the opinion, we can probably anticipate the same hard-hitting, pithy logic he has become known for. During oral arguments, Justice Scalia asked the WEA attorney some of the hardest hitting questions. A particular exchange between the two may shed some light on what he will write.

During oral arguments, Justice Scalia commented, "Here is the Government acting as a coercer. It's because of the Government that you're allowed to get this money from these non-union members."

The union attorney replied, "Well, I don't believe the Court has ever put it quite that way in the Government speech cases, the Government funding cases." (Transcript, pages 31-32)

Maybe Scalia will take this opportunity to “put it… that way…”

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0 comments | June 01, 2007 | 4:37 PM | posted by Ryan

The Providence Journal and ScrippsNews picked up an article Mike Reitz wrote. Here are some highlights.

And remember, the U.S. Surpeme Court could hand down its ruling in this case at anytime, even this Monday.

Court considering union dues case

The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments in the consolidated cases of Washington vs. Washington Education Association and Davenport vs. WEA, which could have major implications for organized labor and the free- speech rights of workers nationwide.

If the questions from the justices are any indication, the court could be poised to issue a ruling that reshapes national labor policy.

The Washington Education Association claimed the requirement to get permission imposed an "insurmountable hurdle" that "cuts deeply" into the First Amendment rights of the union. Justice Anthony Kennedy repeatedly scolded the union lawyer for ignoring the rights of teachers. "You begin by talking about the First Amendment, but you proceed as if there are no First Amendment rights of workers involved at all," he said.

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