ATR, CWF Join Amicus Brief in Case Challenging Exclusive Representation

Posted by Olivia Grady on Tuesday, January 8th, 2019 at 4:12 pm - Permalink

On January 3, 2019, the Center of the American Experiment and seventeen other public policy research organizations and advocacy groups, including Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) and the Center for Worker Freedom (CWF), submitted an amicus brief in support of the petitioner Dr. Kathleen Uradnik.

Dr. Uradnik, with the help of the Buckeye Institute, is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear her case, Uradnik v. Inter Faculty Organization. Dr. Uradnik is a tenured political science professor at St. Cloud State University, and she is challenging exclusive representation. Exclusive representation is a choice that state law gives unions that allows them to represent all workers in a bargaining unit, whether the workers are members of the union or not. Exclusive representation gives unions tremendous power because they decide the terms and conditions of employment for the workers. In the Uradnik case, Dr. Uradnik argues that exclusive representation is a violation of her First Amendment rights.

The amicus brief supporting Dr. Uradnik agrees. The brief details how exclusive representation forces the professor to speak:

“Petitioner has no right to meet and negotiate directly with her employer regarding the terms and conditions of her employment. The Union is her sole means of speaking with her employer about the terms and conditions of her employment.”

In addition, Dr. Uradnik is forced to accept the terms and conditions of her employment that the union has negotiated, even though she doesn’t agree with many of the terms and conditions.

The purpose of the brief was to point out what the 2018 Janus v. AFSCME case said about exclusive representation. The Janus case explained that exclusive representation restricts workers’ First Amendment rights, both speech and association rights.

The brief also rejects the arguments made by the unions in the Janus case. One example is labor peace. The Janus decision has not lead to less labor peace, and ruling for Dr. Uradnik will not reduce labor peace. Likewise, the brief rejects the second argument in Janus: preventing free riding. The Supreme Court has already ruled in Janus that preventing free riders cannot overcome First Amendment violations.

Americans for Tax Reform and the Center for Worker Freedom strongly believe all workers should have the choice of joining and supporting a union or not. In addition, workers should have the freedom to negotiate with their employers over terms and conditions or join the union.