In 1991, the United States Supreme Court followed up on its precendent setting Hudson and Beck decisions with a third ruling that limited the agency fees that public sector unions can extract from nonmembers to those expenses directly related to the collective bargaining process. Once again, Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., presented the argument for workers' First and Fifth Amendment rights before the Court and here presents his critique of the Justices' decision in Lenhert v. Ferris Faculty Association: The U.S. Supreme Court Hands Out Another Stone Instead of a Fish.
In "Constitutional Limitations on the Assessment of Agency Fees in Public Sector Employment," Dr. Edwin Vieira explores one of the most controversial issues in contemporary public sector labor relations: the extent to which a union selected as the exclusive representative of public employees should have authority to charge non-members "agency shop" fees for activities in contract negotiations and administration. For those who question the premise of "agency shop" arrangements, Dr. Vieira's article is enlightening and will be of interest to public sector labor relations academics and experts.
In the 1950's nonunion workers began seeking legal redress to forced union membership and the use of their agency shop fees to advance the political causes they opposed. A significant number of U.S. Supreme Court rulings have resulted and are the subject of "The Permissable Use of Forced Union Dues From Hanson to Beck", by Dr. Charles Baird. The author provides a discussion of the initial federal and state statutes regulating unionism and carries it through to the 1986 Hudson and 1988 Beck decisions that finally required unions to return that portion of nonmember's dues that did not go directly towards the collective bargaining process.
In "Communications Workers of America v. Beck: A Vistory for Nonunion Employees Already Under Attack", Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., cautions that the victory may be subverted by unionists and their allies on the National Labor Relations Board and the lower federal courts. The core of his concern, which forms the nucleus of this article, is that the Court's generalized pronouncements favoring union workers' individual rights necessitate case-by-case implementation by the lower courtsand administrative agencies and that in those arenas, as well as acadame, Beck has already encountered "ominous evasion, resistance and disapproval."
The natural right of an individual to seek employment without being compelled to join a union should be anintegral aspect of every worker's democratic liberty. However, the precise definition of the right-to-work concept can mean one thing to a free market economist and quite another to a union leader. Dr. Charles Baird examines that doctrine in light of the philosphical views of the noted economist W. H. Hutt. The author also extends his essay to discuss Hutt's related views on the right to strike.