A Case of Human Bondage or Fair Share

U. S. Supreme Court 2016

U. S. Supreme Court 2016

Rebecca Friedrichs is having her day in court, not just any court but the highest court of the land, the United States Supreme Court. The basic issue of Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association revolves around the fact that teachers in California are required to pay union dues even though they may not belong or agree with the goals or policies of the union.

 
Many union supporters will say it is only fair for Rebecca to pay since she also gets to receive the benefits for which the union negotiates. Union hardcore members say those that do not contribute are “free riders” since they receive the benefits of collective bargaining without having to pay for that service.

 
Rebecca and her co-plaintiffs believe they should not be obligated to support an organization they do not choose to join. The plaintiffs justify their position by pointing out, a person should not be obligated to yield the fruits of their labor to any person or organization with which they fundamentally disagree or choose not to support. Hardcore union opposition would say the current requirement to pay dues as a non-member is nothing short of legalized extortion.

 
We often talk about our “rights” as citizens. Some of our rights are clearly defined within our founding documents, such as the right to a jury trial, and some are rights that have been established in interpretative decisions or later legislative ways such as the right to an abortion. The basic question before the court in this case is to determine if a citizen has a “right to work” unfettered by an obligation to yield financial earnings to others for the privilege of working on a particular job.

 
Society has changed since the founding of this nation, we no longer accept slavery as morally acceptable, we have seen the abuse of sharecroppers, or workers virtually tied to a company stores and we loathe such situations. We prosecute those that would seek profits from human bondage and sexual exploitation of others. We prosecute because both the bondage and the acts are morally abhorrent within our society. Human bondage in any form is abhorrent.

 
Does the issue before the court touch our very core of belief in the rights of mankind? Let us consider a reading from the preamble to our Constitution:

 
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

 
If it is self-evident, that all mankind is equal and that the Creator has endowed them with the rights of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness hence, no government under our Constitution can transfer or assign those rights without consent from one citizen to another. In our society today as we enjoy the “liberty” of living in a country with great freedom, working is a means to pursue our happiness to a great degree.

 
Therefore, the “right to work” for every individual should be unencumbered. The time for any citizen to be bound by the chains of obligation to another for the “right to work” should have ceased with the Emancipation Proclamation. Human bondage is immoral in any form. Human bondage is not limited to chains, extortion, and fear but also extends to involuntarily being bound or subjected to some external power or control.

 
A union should not fear or oppose the recognition of the “right to work”. A good union will provide the services which satisfy the needs of workers and workers will still join and support the union for the value it delivers.

 
In criminal law every defendant is entitled to an attorney, it is a right, but not an obligation. We all benefit by virtue of case law on the work of others provided in past cases. We are not “free riders”. If you go to court in any matter you can act pro se, you need not pay dues to any law association or union and yet you have the history of cases available for use. Your “right to work” like your right to legal council is not a privilege for which you must pay it is an unalienable right endowed to you by your Creator.

 
May the Supreme Court recognize the endowment of the Creator and break the chains of bondage restraining the rights of mankind working in pursuit of happiness. May God, once again bless America and the American worker.

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