Know Your Legal Rights

Do you know your legal rights?
The following are the legal decisions CA teachers should know about. The first four are Supreme Court precedents won by the National Right to Work Foundation.

Your Legal Rights at a glance:
1977 - Abood v. Detroit Board of Education

The Court ruled that compulsory dues for politics violates the First Amendment and that it is illegal to withhold forced dues from dissenters beyond the cost of collective bargaining. In this case, which reached the Supreme Court in 1977, Right to Work Foundation attorneys represented 600 Detroit school teachers. The Court flatly rejected the argument that public and private sector employees may be treated as possessing dissimilar First Amendment rights. (Union officials later tried to side-step Abood by constructing elaborate internal rebate schemes beyond the means of most employees to pay for, and by setting rebates at only 1 to 5 cents on the dollar.)

1986 - Chicago Teachers Union v. Hudson
In another 9 to 0 decision, the Court found far-reaching rights in challenging compulsory dues withheld from teachers who refrain from union membership. The Court applied civil rights statutes and found that the teachers represented by the Foundation attorneys were denied due process of law under the First Amendment.

In setting aside the "pure rebate" concept, the Court required that employees be provided with information supporting the union's financial breakdown of forced dues; that those figures be verified by independent audit; and that employees have an opportunity for a prompt, impartial review of the union's forced-dues calculations.

To see CTA’s Hudson notice from 2016, please go here.

1988 - Communications Workers of America v. Beck
The Court ruled that workers covered by the National Labor Relations Act can withhold forced dues from the union for everything but the documented cost of collective bargaining. The Foundation-won decision affirmed the rights of private-sector employees to exercise the same freedom from coerced support of politics enjoyed by public sector workers protected by the Abood and Hudson rulings, and railway and airline workers under the Ellis ruling.

Beck , Ellis , Abood , and Hudson , taken together, break down the artificial barriers between private-sector, government, and transportation workers to empower all employees to withhold forced union dues for all activities unrelated to collective bargaining.

Apple v. CTA , Case no. 96 1904 K JFS (SD Cal. 1997)

In the Apple case the California Teachers Association agreed to recognize the right to union members to resign their CTA, NEA and local association memberships at any time! This also includes the right of employees working under a "maintenance of membership" agreement in a union contract to resign their union membership and pay the reduced fees discussed here. No longer will these "maintenance of membership" agreements require union members to remain members of the union until the end of the union contract.


Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 places two obligations upon employers and unions regarding employees' religious beliefs. First, they must not discriminate against employees because of their religious beliefs. Second, they must reasonably accommodate an employee's religious beliefs, unless the accommodation would create an undue hardship for the employer or the union.

2018 - Janus v. AFSCME

On June 27th the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the plaintiff in the Janus v. AFSCME case. The ruling, overturned the Abood decision, and means that no public school teacher or any other government worker in the U.S. has to pay money to a union as a condition of employment.

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