Rebecca Friedrichs’ Supreme Court Case Could Expand Workers Rights in Missouri
Next week the nation’s highest court will hear oral arguments in a case that will decide the constitutional rights of thousands of government workers. The court will decide whether the constitution protects a government employee’s right not to be associated with, or pay for, speech with which she disagrees.
Rebecca Friedrichs is a public school teacher in California who has long struggled with the California Teachers Association, a union that advocates for policies that run counter to Rebecca’s beliefs. Because a majority of the teachers in Rebecca’s school district at one time voted to elect the California Teachers Association to represent them, every current teacher in the district—including Rebecca—is now forced to pay to support the Association.
Rebecca believes this violates her rights. And she has a pretty strong case.
Rebecca’s case is fundamentally about the right of an individual or a minority in a group to think differently than the majority. The majority of the teachers in Mrs. Friedrichs’ school district support a union with an agenda that she disagrees with. Rebecca stands apart as someone who wants to speak with her own voice.
The court’s decision could affect public employees here in Missouri. If the court sides with Mrs. Friedrichs, it would expand the first amendment rights of thousands of teachers, fire fighters, and other Missouri government workers. As a result, each Missouri government employee could choose whether or not to support the union that operates in his or her workplace.