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Bipartisan support for labor in Friedrichs Supreme Court case

ferguson-bobWASHINGTON, D.C. (Nov. 20, 2015) — The top attorneys for 22 states and the District of Columbia, including Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, have filed a “friend-of-the-court” amicus brief supporting unions in Friedrichs v. the California Teachers Association. This case, pushed to the U.S. Supreme Court by right-wing billionaires intent on manipulating the economic rules in their favor, would make it even harder for public workers to come together, speak up and get ahead.

In addition, three prominent Republican state senators, including the No. 2 presiding officer in the Senate and the former chair of the Washington State Republican Party, have joined with GOP colleagues from across the country and sided with public workers in the case, saying it violates conservative principles separating federal and state responsibilities for good government and labor relations.

roach-pamSigning one of dozens of amicus briefs in the Friedrichs case were:

Sen. Pam Roach of the 31st Legislative District, president pro-tem of the Washington State Senate and chair of the Senate Government Operations and Security Committee.

benton-don-senSen. Don Benton of the 17th Legislative District, former head of the Washington State Republican Party and chair of the Senate Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee.

Sen. Mark Miloscia of the 30th Legislative District, a noted government watchdog and chair of the Senate Accountability and Reform Committee.

miloscia-markRoach, Benton and Miloscia joined dozens of other current and former Republican members of state legislatures and Congress from across the country in voicing their objections to the Friedrichs case, which harms the ability of public employees to band together with others to win better wages and benefits that sustain their families and win improvements on the job, like health and safety.

Rebecca Friedrichs and nine other California schoolteachers, who have all opted out of union membership, sued the California Teachers Association to relieve themselves of having to pay their fair share, via agency fees, for the services the union is required by law to provide to them, including contract negotiation and adjudication of grievances. A decision in the case is expected before the Supreme Court term ends in June.

The “Washington Republican Three” who support public workers said the Friedrichs case interferes with how each of the states chooses to handle its labor relations with its employees, violating long-held conservative values separating powers between the federal government and each of the 50 states. Further, they and the other prominent Republicans say, the court case interferes with their responsibility to provide “effective and efficient state government services through the work of public employees.”

A group called the Center for Individual Rights — which The American Prospect recently revealed is funded by the Koch Brothers, other right-wing 1%-ers, and even white supremacists –is behind the Friedrichs case. It is part of a ideological campaign to make it harder for teachers, nurses, social workers, firefighters, and other public workers to band together at work in order fight for benefits and wages that will sustain their families.

TAKE A STAND — Sign a Move On petition urging the Center for Individual Rights to stop attacking the people who keep our communities safe, care for the elderly and disabled, teach and protect our children, maintain our roads, and provide other essential services that make our communities better.

A growing coalition of labor, civil rights and community organizations are working to educate the public about the Friedrichs case. Find out more at

The Washington Federation of State Employees, AFSCME Council 28 contributed to this report.

CHECK OUT THE UNION DIFFERENCE in Washington: higher wages, affordable health and dental care, job and retirement security.

FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!