riedrichs v. CTA raises the fundamental question whether a state can require public employees to join a union as a condition of employment. If the Court rules that this practice violates the First Amendment’s guarantees of free speech and free association, it would be binding on all fifty states. Effectively, such a decision would convert the twenty-six states that now require union membership into open-shop states.
If the Supreme Court does not accept our argument that compulsory dues violates the First Amendment, then, as a fallback position, we are asking the Court to strike down the current “opt-out” system that allows teachers to apply for a refund of that portion of their dues used for overt political purposes because it imposes undue burdens on the free speech rights of teachers. We urge the Court to rule that the First Amendment requires the unions to employ an “opt-in” system. Instead of requiring teachers to apply for a refund, an “opt-in” system would require the unions to secure the affirmative decision of a teacher to support union political activities before withholding dues for that purpose.