Friday, October 3, 2008
As Paul noted in his earlier post, this upcoming week--never mind the term--is a blockbuster for labor and employment cases. I thought it would be helpful to give a more detailed reminder of the first case on tap for Monday: Locke v. Karass (courtesy of Cornell's Legal Information Institute):
The state of Maine has designated the Maine State Employees Association (“MSEA”) as the exclusive “collective bargaining agent” for Maine state employees, including certain employees who are not members of the union. As a result, the nonmembers are required to pay service fees to MSEA, with part of the nonmembers’ fees pooled into the resources of a larger umbrella union. A group of nonmembers recently sued MSEA, claiming that this pooled arrangement with MSEA violates their First Amendment rights, because some of these litigation fees end up contributing to units outside MSEA. The District Court for the District of Maine held that the arrangement was constitutional and ruled for the unions, and the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit affirmed. At issue before the Supreme Court is whether such a pooling arrangement for extra-unit, collective-bargaining litigation expenses is constitutional. The Court’s decision will affect the financial burden on both nonmembers and local unions. Moreover, several circuit courts have decided differently on the issue of extra-unit litigation. With this case, the Court has the opportunity to reaffirm, clarify, or change the existing law.
It's worth noting, as mentioned by one of our commentors, that James Young of the Right To Work Foundation is arguing this case. James is a frequent commentor on this blog and although we don't generally agree on labor issues, including this one, I wish him luck (but not too much).