KNOX v. CALIFORNIA STATE EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION
|| Whether a union may impose a fee for purely political purposes on nonmembers without giving those nonmembers an opportunity to object to the new fees?
|| Dianne Knox; William L. Blaylock; Robert A. Conover; Edward L. Dobrowolski, Jr.; Karyn Gil; Thomas Jacob Hass; Patrick Johnson; Jon Jumper, On Behalf of Themselves and the Class They Seek to Represent
||California State Employees Association, Local 1000, Service Employees International Union, AFL-CIO-CLC, and Steve Westly, Controller, State of California
| Amicus Curiae:
||Mountain States Legal Foundation, Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), Cato Institute, and the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence
|| Supreme Court of the United States
|| On January 10, 2012, oral arguments were conducted before the Supreme Court, and on June 21, 2012, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the non-members holding their First Amendment rights to be superior to those of the union.
|| California recognizes the Service Employees International Union as the exclusive bargaining agent for State employees, which must protect the right of nonmembers to pay only fees directly related to collective bargaining, and not those related to political activities of the union. To protect nonmembers’ First Amendment rights, the union must provide nonmembers notice of any expenditures for political activities and a 30-day opportunity to object to any fees for those political activities. In June 2005, the union sent out its annual notice, which stated that dues were subject to change without further notice but would be capped at $45 per month.
In July 2005, the union proposed to raise $12 million for political activity through an emergency temporary assessment. In August 2005, the union mailed a letter advising of a significant temporary increase in dues for political activities. Notwithstanding assurances by the union, the assessment resulted in an increase in fees for nonmembers and was not “temporary.”
In November 2005, nonmembers filed a class action lawsuit in the Eastern District of California, arguing that the notice was constitutionally deficient and that the assessment violated their First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The district court ruled in favor of the nonmembers on First Amendment grounds. The Ninth Circuit reversed.
On June 27, 2011, the Supreme Court agreed to hear their case.
On September 15, 2011, MSLF and the other amici filed their brief.