Another Union Case in the Supreme Court Pipeline


The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity has signaled its support for the plaintiff in another union-related case, Kathleen Uradnik, a university professor in Minnesota:

This Uradnik case challenges state laws that appoint a union to represent and speak for all workers, even those who disagree with it – an arrangement known as “exclusive representation.”

Uradnik, who has had major disputes with her faculty’s labor union, which has discriminated against her, is nonetheless required by state law to associate with it and to allow it to speak for her. Rhode Island has similar laws imposing exclusive representation upon public employees, limiting their freedoms and opportunities for advancement.

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Owing to the Janus v. AFSCME case, which the U.S. Supreme Court decided last year, government employees can no longer be forced to pay union dues.  Uradnik would free them of association with unions, allowing them to represent, and negotiate for, themselves, or to hire some other party to do so.

Right now, unions have a government-enforced monopoly over each workplace, usually voted into existence by employees years, even decades, ago.  That isn’t right, and it distorts the labor markets, the operation of our government, and (as Rhode Islanders know all too well) the balance of our politics.


Featured image: Screen capture of Kathleen Uradnik from a Buckeye Institute video.

  • Joe Smith

    “Uradnik would free them of association with unions, allowing them to represent, and negotiate for, themselves, or to hire some other party to do so.”

    Not so fast Justin. Uradnik is claiming the union can’t have exclusive representation IF membership status influences certain aspects of a public worker’s career advancement. She is not arguing the union can’t still be the sole representative for items such as pay and benefits (Janus just relieves her of paying the agency fee if she opts out); only that the union can’t have that status AND control other aspects of employment such as assignments or promotions that impact her career progression. She is not arguing for the right to negotiate her own “contract” with the state.

    This might – assuming it eventually works it way through – get a narrow ruling that moves some of those practices to management rights; but I doubt you would get a sweeping elimination of the exclusivity of representation clause. Well, if a SCOTUS vacancy happens in the next 18 months, perhaps – but I think you overstate the implications of this case as it currently exists.

    See reporting by Inside Higher Education (Colleen Flaherty, 7/9/2018)

    “But it did not go so far as to call into question a federal law on exclusive representation. Uradnik’s case argues that union membership is essential to advancement and taking part in meaningful shared governance on her campus, and that it no longer should be”