Exclusive representation violates the First Amendment

New York laws and regulations deem family daycare providers (individuals who operate daycare businesses in their homes) to be “public employees” and requires a union to be the daycare providers’ exclusive representative for bargaining with (e.g., lobbying) the state over daycare regulations and policies. The workers who are “deemed” public employees for collective bargaining purposes are not permitted to work outside the union-negotiated terms and conditions, violating their rights to negotiate their own terms of employment.

Represented by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, the providers filed a facial challenge to the law, Jarvis v. Cuomo, alleging that mandatory exclusive representation violates their First Amendment rights to freedom of association and speech.  The federal district court ruled in favor of the state and the union, based on a 1984 Supreme Court case that permits mandatory affiliation. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed in a short, unpublished opinion that failed to consider the nature of the statute’s infringement on non-union workers’ individual rights. The decision gives a green light to unions and politicians to collude to benefit the unions at the expense of individual workers and citizens, who have basic, fundamental rights to speak and petition the government. This is an issue of growing national importance as states increasingly require in-home care workers to be subject to exclusive representation laws solely for the purpose of enhancing union power through collective bargaining.

The providers have asked the Supreme Court to review the case, and together with the Goldwater Institute, Fairness Center, Pioneer Institute, and Empire Center, Pacific Legal Foundation filed an amicus brief today supporting the petition, arguing that Americans cannot be compelled to speak or associate, or petition the government, against their wishes. The political and self-interested nature of the public-sector union’s collective bargaining, exclusively and on behalf of workers who explicitly decline to join the union, raises a significant issue of constitutional dimension, with nationwide import, that deserves resolution by our nation’s highest court.