In the run-up to oral argument in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, OnLabor will be reviewing some of the significant amicus briefs that have been filed in the case.
Dozens of states have now signed on to amici briefs in favor of either party. Supporting petitioners are eighteen states who contend that “collective bargaining in the public sector . . . does implicate matters of public concern.” As such, the states’ brief declares:
It is time to abandon the meaningless distinction between collective bargaining and other political activity. In the public sector, core collective bargaining topics such as wages, pensions, and benefits inherently implicate public policy, and in ways that matter. Like lobbyists, public-sector unions obtain binding agreements from the government that have enormous public impact — all without the natural counterweight of a financial market that exists in the private sector. In the public sector, it is taxpayers, not business owners and consumers, who foot the bill — and the bill is often steep.
In short, the states argue that because “collective bargaining in the public sector is at core a political activity with direct and insignificant implications for the public at large” — and “not merely a ‘private concern’ between employer and employees” — the Court’s “constitutional analysis” of fair share agreements should more accurately “reflect the reality of public-sector bargaining” than the analysis undertaken in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education.
The states’ brief was submitted by the Attorney of General of Michigan on behalf of the Attorneys General of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.