I am having difficulty in understanding how the court sees the collection of “fair share” fees as being a violation of workers’ First Amendment rights.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances
I understand that the First Amendment does not protect the right of people to peacefully assemble and petition a corporation for a redress of grievances. I understand that unions do get involved in politics, which is the exercise of free speech. It seems to me that this ruling is impinging the collective group’s free speech with the argument that it must eliminate the possibility of an individual member having any possibility of unwillingly supporting the collective’s speech.
If the collection of “fair share” fees is a violation of workers First Amendment rights, then what about the “right to work laws”? These laws provide workers a financial incentive to not pay union fees while continuing to enjoy the benefits of the union. Does a worker with an ailing wife or child not have a powerful incentive to not pay the union fees in order to have more money to pay for the medical expenses? This non-paying worker may even support what the union does but his support of the union is abridged by financial concerns, and the legislators that made these laws knew that they were creating this situation. I expect that the overwhelming majority of people who take advantage of the right to work laws do it for financial reasons and understand what they are selling.
I would argue that if the worker is to not support the union because of beliefs then that worker does not have the right to keep the union fees and must contribute the equivalent sum to some organization, political or otherwise, that aligns with his beliefs. The financial incentive to not support the union needs to be removed because it is infringing on the worker’s First Amendment rights to support the union, and donating the union fees elsewhere will respect the beliefs of the worker who does not support the union without in effect “paying” him to not support the union. “Fair share” fees that get questioned should be handled in the same way.
What I do not understand is how “fair share” fees can be a violation of workers’ First Amendment rights without the “right to work” laws similarly being violations of workers’ First Amendment rights.