Maryland labor leaders expressed concern Tuesday after the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case challenging the right of government worker unions to collect fees from nonmembers — a move that could undermine the unions' financial footing.
Opponents of such fees say they violate the First Amendment by forcing government workers to subsidize unions they do not want to join. The argument could have a receptive audience among the court's conservative members, who have openly questioned the precedent the court set four decades ago allowing the fees.
If the court rules against the fees in the case, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, unions across the nation would stand to lose a substantial amount of money, which would limit how much they can spend to support candidates. In Maryland, for example, the union that represents state government employees brings in $2.75 million annually in fees from nonmembers.