US Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in Friedrichs vs California Teachers Association

Date Posted: 
Friday, January 15, 2016

This article was originally written by Joan Deem and Tom Glenn.

On Monday January 11, 2016 the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments from both sides, the petitioners (Friedrichs, et al.) and the challengers alike.

Backed by the conservative Center for Individual Rights, a Koch Brothers financed right-wing think tank, the case is a backdoor attempt at gutting labor unions, thereby essentially rendering the nation a 'right-to-work' country.

A pro-labor rally of roughly 500 activists, rank-and-file unionists, and labor leaders, including our own Tom Glenn-HCT 1st VP, was held outside the U.S. Supreme Court Building in the shadow of the nation's capital. The intent was to clearly, loudly, and unequivocally send our message that the nation is stronger when we "Work Together".  Alongside the labor camp, a counter-rally of Friedrichs sympathizers attempted unsuccessfully to drown out the clearly larger union activists.

Standing alongside brothers and sisters in solidarity, the sentiment outside belied the oral arguments inside. Initial reactions point toward a negative outcome for unions. However, critics temper the message with the notion that frequently what Justices say in the oral argument portion of proceedings is merely to gauge public sentiment prior to rendering a final ruling.

Later that evening, Joan Deem, HCT president was invited to speak on the AFT Town Hall Phone Conference to leaders of the 700 largest local unions in the AFT. Randi Weingarten, AFT President, recapped the oral arguments and interpretations by AFT and NEA Counsel. Following that discussion Randi commended the HCT on the work we have been doing to activate our membership and asked Joan to speak and answer questions about the HCT's ME Committee and the recent effort to solidify our voting base for the upcoming 2016 elections.

Thank you to all of the HCT members who wore RED to support public education and public unions in this fight. This is OUR union and this is OUR fight.