On Monday, Lesa Curtis, Kevin McAllister, Gerry Murphy, Jason Poniatowski and Ann Robertson attended theFriedrichs v. California Teachers Association Rally held in Washington DC. Lesa and Ann's sons, Chris and Matthew, who are future union educators, members and advocates also attended to show support. This is an important decision that could effect the survival of the very thing we strive to protect, our union, contract and strong! the following is a summary: As you may know, oral arguments were held yesterday in the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association. The preliminary assessments appear to be negative to the interests of public sector unions according to the “cognoscenti”. Of course, this is merely oral argument and some justices take the position of “devil’s advocate” with respect to their own arguments. The following are excerpts from various news sources on what was said by some of the Justices during the oral arguments on the mandatory payment of so-called “agency fees” by non-member workers for representation by public employee unions: Justice Scalia “It’s one thing to provide it for private employers. It’s another thing to provide it for the government, where every matter bargained for is a matter of public interest,” Justice Scalia said. For instance, “should the government pay higher wages or lesser wages? Should it promote teachers on the basis of seniority or on the basis of [merit]? All of those questions are necessarily political questions.” Justice Scalia seemed ready to vote to overrule the Abood decision. “The problem is that it is not the same as a private employer, that what is bargained for is, in all cases, a matter of public interest,” he said. “And that changes the situation.” Justice Kennedy Another conservative justice, Anthony Kennedy, displayed no sympathy for the union’s argument. Many teachers “strongly disagree with the union position on teacher tenure, on merit pay, on merit promotion, on classroom size,” Justice Kennedy said. Rather than free riders, “the union basically is making these teachers compelled riders for issues on which they strongly disagree.” If a worker “is required to pay $500 for someone to espouse a belief that he doesn’t share,” Justice Kennedy said, it would be small comfort “that he is now free to go out and argue against it. That means he has to spend another $500 so that it balances out? That makes no sense.” Chief Justice Roberts Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. suggested that losing fair share fees would not pose much of a problem; if workers really support collective bargaining, the so-called free rider problem someone like Ms. Friedrichs represents would be “really insignificant.” “If your employees have shown overwhelmingly that they want collective bargaining, then it seems to me the free-rider concern that’s been raised is really insignificant,” said Chief Justice John Roberts. Justice Breyer Justice Stephen Breyer, a member of the court’s liberal wing, rejected the argument that collective bargaining was equivalent to electioneering or lobbying. “We’re talking about six people in a room bargaining about wages, hours, and working conditions. That’s pretty far removed from the heart of the First Amendment,” he said. Justice Kagan Justice Elena Kagan said a ruling against unions could disrupt labor relations across the country, unsettling long-standing expectations among public agencies, unions and workers. In many instances, she said, unions had bargained for agency-fee provisions—which cost the employer nothing—instead of other measures. She also said that a change in the court’s direction would undermine precedents that authorized mandatory fees in some circumstances for state bar associations, student governments and other organizations that perform important functions. “This is a case in which there are tens of thousands of contracts with these provisions,” she said. “Those contracts affect millions of employees, maybe as high as 10 million employees.” Justice Kagan said the 2014 ruling, along with one from 2012, “admittedly expressed some frustration with Abood.” But that was not enough, she said, to justify overruling a 40-year-old precedent.