You are here
Court Refuses Union Dues Case
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court refused Tuesday to consider whether workers can be forced to pay for union organizing activities in other workplaces against their wishes.
The Bush administration has defended the mandatory dues and pressed the court to stay out of a fight that involved grocery workers but could also affect millions of other employees.
At issue in the latest case is a government decision to force grocery workers for chains based in California, Colorado and Michigan to pay for union organizing activities in other grocery markets.
The National Labor Relations Board determined that the employees benefit when salaries rise in their occupation, not just in the stores where they work. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco upheld the decision, and the workers appealed to the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court has strictly limited the union agreements, which vary from state to state, to protect the nonmembers' free-speech and free-association rights. Workers cannot be forced to be full members, pay full dues or support a union's political activities, the Supreme Court has ruled.
The nonunion employees can be required to pay for a union's collective bargaining work, however, so long as the money isn't spent on political and ideological purposes.