The right to disagree and not pay a fee

Among rights the Constitution guarantees to Americans are those of speech and association. Yet for decades, many states have infringed upon those rights because big labor unions demanded it.

U.S. Supreme Court justices are hearing arguments this week in a lawsuit filed in an attempt to restore some of those rights. It involves so-called “fair share” fees government employees in some states can be required to pay to unions with which they disagree and to which they do not belong.

In those states, public employee unions argue that because even non-members working for the government benefit from union activities, such as collective bargaining, those people should be required to pay fees to cover such services.

But some who object point out the “fair-share” fees they have to pay support all union activities, including political initiatives with which some non-members disagree. Requiring payment of “fair share” fees forces non-members to support organizations and activities against their will.

Obviously, that is unconstitutional — but “fair share” has been the law of the land in many states for years.

Supreme Court justices should rule the practice is not acceptable. This is the United States of America — where no one ought to be forced to support, directly or indirectly, an organization with which one disagrees.

By Kerry Minor

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