Monday, January 8, 2007
SeattlePi.com (via the AP) has an interesting article about the background to the upcoming United States Supreme Court case in Davenport v. Washington Education Association, which is scheduled for oral argument on Wednesday this week.
The case concerns a Washington initiative that the voters adopted that required unions to obtain affirmative consent ("opt-in") from nonmembers before spending any of the nonmembers' fees on political activity. The union successfully challenged this opt-in rule in state court on constitutional grounds.
As far as the players concerned, you might think that the employee who is challenging having to opt-out of having to pay union dues is anti-union, but that is not the case:
Former high school teacher Gary Davenport didn't have any particular problem with unions and even had a union job in college, but the man whose name is on an anti-union lawsuit to be heard next week by the U.S. Supreme Court says politics kept him from joining up when he got his teaching job in 1998.
"I decided I didn't want to become a member because of some of the political stances they take," said Davenport, 32, who was already on his way out of teaching when Davenport v. Washington Education Association was filed in state courts in 2000.
Davenport now looks at Wednesday's argument as a once-in-a-lifetime educational opportunity for his three children.
An educational opportunity, indeed. You can read more about this case in these previous posts (here and here) or in the rest of this informative article. Should be an interesting oral argument and we will post to the transcripts as soon as they are available.