The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

June 30, 2011
U.S. Supreme Court takes SEIU fee hike case

Thumbnail image for 100609 gavel.jpgThe U.S. Supreme Court agreed Monday to review an appeals court's ruling that a union isn't obligated to send a second notice when adopting a temporary, midterm fee increase in addition to an annual fee notice to members.

The high court's Monday decision to consider the case revives a dispute that started in 2005, when union officials issued a "special assessment" to raise money from all state employees, regardless of their membership status, for a union political fund.

In 2007, a district court ruled that the union should have given notice and allowed employees to opt out. It ordered refunds of the money with interest. San Francisco's 9th Circuit Court reversed that decision as "practically unworkable."

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, based in Springfield, Va., has represented Dianne Knox and other plaintiffs in the class-action case. Its website describes the nonprofit as a "charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by abuses of compulsory unionism."

Click here for our earlier reporting on the case. This link opens the Supreme Court's "Granted & Noted List," which details the cases it has decided to consider. Knox is listed on page 3.


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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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