Chicago Teachers Union, Local No. 1, AFT, AFL-CIO v. Hudson

PETITIONER: Chicago Teachers Union, Local No. 1, AFT, AFL-CIO
LOCATION: Hardwick's Apartment

DOCKET NO.: 84-1503
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1981-1986)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

CITATION: 475 US 292 (1986)
ARGUED: Dec 02, 1985
DECIDED: Feb 26, 1986

Edwin Vieira, Jr. - on behalf of Respondent
Laurence Stephen Gold - on behalf of Petitioners

Facts of the case


Media for Chicago Teachers Union, Local No. 1, AFT, AFL-CIO v. Hudson

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 02, 1985 in Chicago Teachers Union, Local No. 1, AFT, AFL-CIO v. Hudson

Warren E. Burger:

We will hear arguments first this morning in Chicago Teachers Union against Hudson.

Mr. Gold, you may proceed whenever you're ready.

Laurence Stephen Gold:

Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court.

This case concerns the validity of a system for effectuating an agency shop agreement, such agreements as the litigation to this point in this Court shows are those that provide that, where a majority of an appropriate collective bargaining unit has selected an exclusive bargaining representative, all the employees within the bargaining unit are required to pay a sum equal to a percentage of union dues.

The litigation in this Court to this point demonstrates that the requirement of support of all of the employees for the representative is constitutionally appropriate so long as the union uses the money of individuals who file objections only for matters relating to collective bargaining and attendant activities.

And in the Ellis v. Railway Clerks case in 1984, the Court began the process, at least under the Railway Labor Act, of specifying which of the union's costs are chargeable to such objectors and which are not.

In this case, the Seventh Circuit confined itself to a procedural issue, and indeed the Seventh Circuit remarked in its opinion that the plaintiffs below, the Respondents in this Court, had predicated their challenge on procedural due process issues.

The Seventh Circuit ruled that a system such as the one here, whereby the union calculates and, as the district court's uncontested findings state, carefully documents the portion of union dues that represents the... and here I quote the state statutory language...

"the cost of the collective bargaining process and contract administration. "

and provides an advance reduction from regular union dues based on that calculation, and that furthermore places the payments of objectors who pay in this reduced amount into an interest-bearing escrow account pending the objector's use of either an internal review proceeding within the union which ends before an arbitrator selected from a list maintained by the state by the union, or through judicial review, does not accord the objector due process of law.

In other words, the court held that, even though the union makes the calculation and provides an advanced reduction and backs up that advanced reduction by an interest-bearing escrow account into which is placed the money of objectors while they pursue their challenges to the union's calculation, the objector is not given due process of law.


William H. Rehnquist:

Would you say the Court of Appeals said that, even though the substantive result reached was right, there still was a procedural component that was separate from that?

Laurence Stephen Gold:

--Yes, indeed, Justice Rehnquist.

The Seventh Circuit said that it needn't get into the substantive issue, that it could assume that the calculation was correct and that not a penny of the objector's money would be spent for an impermissible purpose, and nonetheless there would be a constitutional violation in this case.

Byron R. White:

Well, Mr. Gold, I thought that the Court of Appeals did indicate, though, that some... give some opinion as to what could be included in the share that the employee would have to pay?

Laurence Stephen Gold:

The Court of Appeals noted in passing that the objector's rights included not only a right not to pay for political and ideological activity, but also a right not to pay for any activity which is not germane to--

Byron R. White:

That's pretty substantive, isn't it?

Laurence Stephen Gold:

--It is substantive, but it isn't presented in this case, and the court indicated as much, because the state statute--

Byron R. White:

Don't you think that was just gratuitous dicta?

Laurence Stephen Gold:

--I would hate to use the word "gratuitous", but I certainly believe that the way the Seventh Circuit approached the case, it was dictum, not only because of what it--

Byron R. White:

But some arbitrator, if this procedure holds, would probably follow it, wouldn't he?

Laurence Stephen Gold:

--Hopefully, the arbitrator wouldn't be faced with that because the decision ought not and we hope will not--

Byron R. White:

Be affirmed.

Laurence Stephen Gold:


But the Seventh Circuit's position as it articulated it is that a procedure with the safeguards I've just outlined nonetheless works a deprivation of the objector's liberty interest, which that court noted are taken to or determined by the objector's right of non-association.

And it is our position that that ruling of the Seventh Circuit is erroneous, that it is contrary to the method of approach this Court stated in Abood versus the Detroit Federation of Teachers in 431 U.S., which is the other public sector agency shop case in this Court, and flatly contrary to what the Court had to say in Ellis versus Railway Clerks, a 1984 decision, albeit one arising under the Railway Labor Act.

In determining what due process is required in this case, and as I think the Court of Appeals recognized, the beginning point has to be the nature of the objector's liberty interest, the nature of his right of non-association.

And this Court has spoken to the nature of that interest and that right in the Abood case.

And in Abood... and this was foreshadowed in earlier cases as well... the Court defined the objector's interest and his right as not being required to provide compulsory subsidization of union ideological and political activity not related to collective bargaining.