Union Regulations Archives
Abood v. Detroit Board of Education (1977) said that requiring government
employees to pay union dues that weren’t used for political purposes did
not violate the First Amendment.
American Communications Association v. Douds (1950) said the requiring
unions to affirm their leaders were not Communists did not violate the
Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen v. Virginia ex rel. Virginia State Bar
(1964) said preventing union members from recommending legal counsel
violated First Amendment freedoms.
Chicago Teachers Union v. Hudson (1986) ruled a union’s dues collection
procedures were insufficient to protect First Amendment free association
City of Madison v. Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission (1976) said
nonunion teachers could not be stopped from speaking at school board
Davenport v. Washington Education Association (2007) ruled that a campaign
finance law dealing with union dues did not trigger First Amendment
Ellis v. Brotherhood of Railway, Airline and Steamship Clerks (1984) said a
rebate scheme for dissenting nonunion members failed to protect their First
In Harris v. Quinn (2014), the Supreme Court dealt with the First Amendment
issues of requiring personal care workers in Illinois to join a union
against their will.
The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that that an Illinois law allowing government
employee unions to collect fees from non-members violates the First
Amendment. Justice Samuel Alito wrote the 2018 opinion in Janus v. American
Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, saying the rule was a
form of compelled speech.
In Knox v. Service Employees International Union (2012), the Court struck
down a union’s imposition of special dues applied to nonunion members to
oppose two referenda.
Lehnert v. Ferris Faculty Association (1991) addressed First Amendment
protections and the expenditure of contributions nonunion members are
required to pay to the union.
Letter Carriers v. Austin (1974) ruled the term “scab” could not be the
basis of a libel claim by a non-union member as rhetorical hyperbole is
protected by the First Amendment.
Linn v. United Plant Guard Workers of America (1966), which dealt with a
union organizing campaign, affirmed that libel is not protected by the
Locke v. Karass (2009) said that as long as union litigation was related to
collective bargaining, charging nonmembers for national litigation did not
violate the First Amendment.
Minnesota Board for Community Colleges v. Knight (1984) upheld a state law
that restricted colleges from listening to any but designated
representatives at bargaining sessions.
Railway Employees’ Department v. Hanson (1956) ruled that the Railway Labor
Act’s provision for union shops was not a violation of the First
Amendment’s right of association.
Smith v. Arkansas State Highway Employees (1979) ruled that the commission
did not violate First Amendment rights by refusing to accept grievances
through a union representative.
United Mine Workers of America v. Illinois State Bar Association (1967)
said preventing a union from having a salaried attorney violated First
Amendment associational rights.
In 1957, the Supreme Court held that the use of general union treasury
funds to sponsor commercial television broadcasts touting 1954
congressional candidates was an indictable offense under 18 U.S.C. 610,
which banned corporate or labor contributions or expenditures in federal
United States v. CIO (1948), which involved an indictment against a union
for its periodical, said the law in question was not intended to infringe
upon First Amendment freedoms.
In 1982, the Supreme Court upheld a federal law that prohibited candidates
for union leadership positions from accepting contributions from non-union
members in United Steelworkers v. Sadlowski. “Oilcan Eddie” Edward
Sadlowski had mounted a campaign for the presidency of the Steelworkers and
challenged the restriction.
In 1971, the Supreme Court reversed an injunction that prevented a union
from providing legal advice and services to members, saying it interfered
with the rights of association enjoyed under the First Amendment. In United
Transportation Union v. State Bar of Michigan, the Court pointed to its
previous rulings in union cases.