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Standing Together For Schools And Students

Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association and The Case For Fair Share

The Issue

In Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, Rebecca Friedrichs, a California public school teacher, and nine other teachers, filed a suit objecting to fair share fees they are required to pay the California Teachers Association. The claim: They are forced to join a union by paying the fees, and the money they pay goes to political activity. Proven untrue.

What is Fair Share?

Since workers cannot be forced to join a union, but unions are legally required to represent all workers, those who decline membership are still required to pay a fee—their “fair share”—representing the cost of union representation and bargaining.

Why the Case Mattered

At its core, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association was about wealthy special interests who tried to shift the balance of economic power in their favor to make it more difficult for working people to have a strong voice and help create an economy that works for everyone. Supporters of the case sought individual profit and personal gain. They wanted to weaken policies that protect working families and communities—the same policies that support better public services, including smaller class sizes, quicker response times in emergencies, better staffing for hospitals, and more.

Who was Behind the Case?

The Center for Individual Rights (CIR) is a Washington-based public interest law firm whose mission is “the defense of individual liberties against the increasingly aggressive and unchecked authority of federal and state governments.” Major CIR funders include conservative billionaires, Charles and David Koch.

This is an updated and slightly revised version of an item that first appeared in California Educator, a publication of the California Teachers Association. For the full version visit:

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