Court Curbs Unions' Political Spending

In blow to organized labor, states can force members' approval
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 15, 2007 8:31 AM CDT
___UPF_START_OF_TABLE___Document NameUS NEWS SCOTUS 8 KRTDocument DateMar/3/2006PhotographerChuck KennedyFormat1346 x 2000 Color JPEGCategoryAKeywordskrtgovernment government, krtlaw law, krtnational   (KRT Photos)
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(Newser) – The Supreme Court yesterday upheld a Washington State law forcing public-sector unions to win consent from workers before spending their dues on politically-charged activities. The law applied to workers who opt out of joining a union but still have to pay the dues, some of which are spent supplying (mainly Democratic) political coffers.

A teachers' union had challenged the law on first amendment grounds, but Scalia, who wrote the decision, characterized the dues as a sinister "tax" on government employees. Although the unanimous ruling will have limited impact in Washington State—the governor recently repealed the controversial provision—it's being taken as a wide blow to organized labor.