by Brenée Goforth
Communications Associate, John Locke Foundation
This week, the John Locke Foundation, along with 12 other American policy groups, submitted a joint amicus brief in support of The Buckeye Institute’s case Reisman v. Associated Faculties of the University of Maine (AFUM). The groups joining the Locke Foundation to file the brief include Americans for Tax Reform, the James Madison Institute, The California Policy Center, the Pelican Institute for Public Policy, and many more.
The Reisman case centers around a law in Maine that requires state employees, like Professor Jonathan Reisman, to grant unions their exclusive representation. Forcing a public employee to accept the union as their “exclusive” bargaining representative the employee their free choice to hire a representative or represent themselves, and in that same vein denies them their constitutional right to freedom of association.
JLF’s Jon Guze comments:
State-compelled exclusive representation laws like the one being challenged in “Reisman v. AFUM” force public employees to associate with unions even when they disapprove of those unions and their activities. That is a violation of public employees’, like Reisman’s, First Amendment right to freedom of speech and association. Such laws give those organizations far too much power.
Guze further explains North Carolina’s interest in the case:
There are two reasons why North Carolinians should support Prof. Reisman and hope he prevails. The first is that the constitutional rights that he invokes have far-reaching applications, and it is in every American’s interest to defend and preserve them. The second is that we may not always be as lucky as we are now. North Carolina’s public employee organizations cannot currently participate in collective bargaining, but in many other states they can. In those states, public employee organizations have exherted their power politically. Often using their power to promote policies—including over-generous and unaffordable pension plans—that benefit state employees while harming the public they are supposed to serve.
North Carolina’s public employee organizations would love to change our law so that their unions can engage in this kind of collective bargaining and exhert this kind of political power on behalf of state employees.
This amicus brief represents just 13 of the 22 organizations supporting the case for protecting workers’ freedom.