Law & Courts

Latest Round in Utah Battle Goes to Unions

By Mark Walsh — January 22, 2008 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

A political boxing match in Utah between state legislators and anti-union groups, on one hand, and the state teachers’ union and other public-employee unions, on the other, has reached the end of another round, and the unions won.

A federal appeals court on Jan. 10 struck down a Utah law that bars school districts and other local government agencies from withholding voluntary political contributions from the paychecks of their employees.

“By banning a contribution method preferred by many union members, the [Voluntary Contributions Act] increases the difficulty of contributing to labor union political funds” and thus unconstitutionally “burdens political speech,” said a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, in Denver.

See Also

For more stories on this topic see Law and Courts.

When the measure was passed in 2001, officials of the Utah Education Association, an affiliate of the National Education Association, said it was retribution for a statewide teachers’ strike in the fall of 2000. (“Utah Eyes Ban on Payroll Deductions For Political Giving,” Feb. 7, 2001.)

The union also believes the law was meant to shrink its political war chest.

The law “substantially reduced the UEA’s political action contributions,” said Michael McCoy, the general counsel of the state teachers’ union. “We’re still recovering from that.”

The state was joined in its defense of the law by several state and national groups that oppose unions on such issues as payroll deductions for dues and political action funds, including the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, based in Springfield, Va.

Stefan H. Gleason, a vice president of National Right to Work, said government agencies “should not act as bag men for the unions.”

Still, while he believes the court ruling was incorrect, he argued that Utah’s law “did not meaningfully cut into the unions’ coercive power.”

Meanwhile, the Utah attorney general’s office is deciding whether to appeal the ruling by the 10th Circuit court.

A similar Idaho law struck down in October by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, in San Francisco, is the subject of an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the January 23, 2008 edition of Education Week

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Webinar
Seamless Integrations for Engagement in the Classroom
Learn how to seamlessly integrate new technologies into your classroom to support student engagement. 
Content provided by GoGuardian
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Recruitment & Retention Webinar
Be the Change: Strategies to Make Year-Round Hiring Happen
Learn how to leverage actionable insights to diversify your recruiting efforts and successfully deploy a year-round recruiting plan.
Content provided by Frontline
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Critical Ways Leaders Can Build a Culture of Belonging and Achievement
Explore innovative practices for using technology to build an environment of belonging and achievement for all staff and students.
Content provided by DreamBox Learning

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Law & Courts A School Librarian Pushes Back on Censorship and Gets Death Threats and Online Harassment
Amanda Jones lost her legal battle against online harassers this week but vows to continue to press her case.
7 min read
Amanda Jones, a librarian in Livingston Parish, La., pictured on Sept. 13, 2022. Jones is suing members of a Facebook group who harassed her virtually after she spoke against censorship in a public library meeting. Jones received angry emails and even a death threat from people across the country after she filed the lawsuit.
Amanda Jones, a librarian in Livingston Parish, La., is suing members of a Facebook group who harassed her virtually after she spoke against censorship in a public library meeting.
Claire Bangser for Education Week
Law & Courts Affirmative Action Cases Lead What Could Prove Another Momentous Supreme Court Term
The cases on race in college admissions could affect K-12. The justices will also weigh copyright, American Indian law, and LGBTQ rights.
7 min read
The U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, Monday, June 27, 2022.
The U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, Monday, June 27, 2022.
Patrick Semansky/AP
Law & Courts As Rhetoric Heats Up, Many Parents Fear Politicians Are Using Children As ‘Political Pawns’
Not all parents buy the rationale policymakers have offered for limiting discussions of race and LGBTQ issues in school.
3 min read
Image of a book with a blue and red pen.
Laura Baker/Education Week and iStock/Getty
Law & Courts School Districts' Legal Battle With Juul Isn't Over
States recent settlement with the vape company doesn't end districts separate lawsuits.
5 min read
A Juul electronic cigarette starter kit at a smoke shop in New York on Dec. 20, 2018. In a deal announced Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022, electronic cigarette maker Juul Labs will pay nearly $440 million to settle a two-year investigation by 33 states into the marketing of its high-nicotine vaping products, which have long been blamed for sparking a national surge in teen vaping.
The electronic cigarette company Juul will pay nearly $440 million to settle an investigation by 33 states into the marketing of its products, blamed for a national surge in teen vaping.
Seth Wenig/AP