Right To Work Group Hails High Court Ruling

By Jim Burns | July 7, 2008 | 8:25 PM EDT

(CNSNews.com) - Right to work advocates are applauding a Supreme Court decision that gives workers more say over how their union dues are spent.

The Supreme Court Tuesday kicked back to a lower court a ruling it made that said union members do not have the authority to challenge how its officials spends its dues.

The National Right To Work Legal Defense Foundation praised the US Supreme Court for returning to a California appellate court the decision made in "Prescott vs. City of El Dorado" and urged the jurists to reconsider.

The Right to Work foundation said the case started several years ago when a group of El Dorado, California city employees challenged Local No. 1 of the El Dorado County Employees Association. The employees charged the union was spending their dues for political purposes and that its officials could not refuse to disclose where and for what the money was being used.

Attorneys for the foundation filed a petition with the Supreme Court asking it to consider the case. On Tuesday, the high court vacated and remanded the case to the federal appeals court in California. Citing a case called "Friends of the Earth," the Supreme Court instructed the appellate court to reconsider its ruling that employees do not have standing when challenging provisions of a collective bargaining agreement even if it calls for employers to collect the money to give to the union which is illegal.

The case is expected to challenge interpretations of the first amendment since the union members are alleging they are being forced to support political activities they disagree with.

"These are people who are not voluntary members. They don't support the union but yet they are still forced to pay dues to it, they're city employees. It's a first amendment case because it is the government, this case affects all public sector unions and indeed, in fact, affects all unions even private sector. The issue here is can unions continue to, in effect, bribe employers into doing their dirty work and collecting dues, even if the employer knows its against the law," Stefan Gleason of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation told CNSNews.com.

Chuck Egbert, executive director of the El Dorado County Employees Association told CNSNews.com, the union was taken aback by the Supreme Court action, and was unsure about what action the union would take in the wake of the decision.