FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Unions’ right to determine membership withstands corporate legal assault
Los Angeles—U.S. District Court judge Stephen V. Wilson today announced the dismissal of “April Bain et al v. California Teachers Association et al,” the latest example of corporate interests reinterpreting the First Amendment to silence the collective voice of the Nation’s working men and women and undermine the democratic process within unions.
In the suit’s convoluted argument, filed earlier this year, four union members alleged they were compelled to relinquish first amendment rights because they couldn’t vote in union matters without paying dues. In his ruling Judge Wilson sided with the defendants’ argument to dismiss, which stated that if plaintiffs prevailed, the unions’ first amendment right to freedom of association through self-governance would be abrogated.
The California Teachers Association and California Federation of Teachers are pleased that the Court has reaffirmed the unions’ right to advocate effectively on behalf of students, members and public education.
“The Bain lawsuit rests on sensational and entirely incorrect claims,” said California Teachers Association President Eric Heins. “The truth in this case is, no California teacher is required to join a union and every educator is entirely free to decline membership. Members of CTA also have the option of not having any of their dues money spent for political candidates. It’s as simple as checking a box on their membership form.”
“We welcome the quick and early decision by Judge Wilson,” said Joshua Pechthalt, president of the California Federation of Teachers. “What the Bain plaintiffs were asking for would have represented a significant and unprecedented violation of teachers’ First Amendment rights to democratically associate in a labor union. It’s no surprise that every court that previously considered such claims has roundly rejected them.”
The 325,000-member CTA is affiliated with the 3.2 million-member National Education
Association. The California Federation of Teachers is the statewide affiliate of the American
Federation of Teachers, and represents faculty and school employees in public and private
schools and colleges, from early childhood through higher education.