A Victory for Workers’ Rights Across the USA


It was a good day for unions and workers across the United States.

In Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association the Supreme Court rendered a tied, 4-4, decision. When the Supreme Court is evenly split on a case, the ruling in the lower case stands. In this instance the appeals court had earlier ruled in favor of the California Teachers Association and against the appellants.

The core of this case lies in the fact that ten California teachers wanted the union to represent them in negotiations, but did not feel they should have to pay union dues for those services.

In the Washington Post NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia stated, “The U.S. Supreme Court today rejected a political ploy to silence public employees like teachers, school-bus drivers, cafeteria workers, higher-education faculty and other educators to work together to shape their profession. In Friedrichs, the court saw through the political attacks on the workplace rights of teachers, educators and other public employees. This decision recognizes that stripping public employees of their voices in the workplace is not what our country needs.”

It was a victory, but it does not end here. There are other cases in the federal court system that are trying to erode union and workers’ rights. In recent years several states have been attacked by foes and lost collective bargaining. In those states both salaries and workers’ rights have diminished. We must keep our guard up.

Together we are a formidable force. Together, we, the Hawaii State Teachers Association, can do great work for Hawaii’s public schools.