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Important Supreme Court Ruling and the Strength of Our Union

Submitted by Staff on Tue, 04/05/2016 - 10:42


From President David M. Hughes & other officers of the Rutgers AAUP-AFT to union members, April 5, 2016:


Dear Colleague,

You may have already read the good news in the New York Times or received the email below from the AAUP about the Friedrichs v CTA decision. The U.S. Supreme Court voted 4-4 on this case and the immediate threat to public sector unions has been averted.

Today we sent a message to full union members thanking them for their strong support of the union and its activities. Long before this court case was on our radar, we had made a commitment to build our membership and strengthen our union. A strong union with an active membership allows us to not only take on important contract work, but to address various issues such as diversity, faculty governance, work/family issues and the defense of academic freedom. We are proud that so many of you have answered the call to defend our profession and public higher education by becoming more active in our union work.

The threats to our union and profession won’t just go away, as we have recently seen with the University of Wisconsin system, but we are certain that we will fend off those challenges if we continue to build strength through member activism.

We invite your thoughts on any issues that you feel are important to our membership.

In Solidarity,

David M. Hughes, President
Professor, SAS-Anthropology (New Brunswick)

Deepa Kumar, Vice President
Associate Professor, SC&I-Journalism and Media Studies (New Brunswick)

Robert Snyder, Secretary
Associate Professor, FASN-Arts, Culture, and Media (Newark)

Rosemarie Cipparulo, Treasurer
Teaching Instructor (NTT), SMLR-Labor Studies (New Brunswick)

From National AAUP, Aaron Nisenson, Senior Council, AAUP-CBC

Dear AAUP Member:

Today [March 29, 2016] the Supreme Court rejected attempts by anti-union forces to render agency fee unconstitutional in the public sector in the case Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association. The Court upheld an appellate court decision that found agency fee constitutional, stating in full, “The judgment is affirmed by an equally divided Court.” Thus, the law remains as it has for over forty years. This is good news for AAUP unions and for our brothers and sisters throughout working America.

However, the attacks on agency fee and collective bargaining are far from over. Efforts to eliminate agency fee and otherwise weaken unions are multiplying at the state level and more challenges may be heard by the Supreme Court.

As always, our best preparation for these challenges is to build a strong union with an active, mobilized membership. We’re proud of the organizing work we have all done this year and look forward to continuing to build the kind of strong, active membership that enables our union to win strong contracts, represent our members, and assure the future of higher education.

See more information about the Friedrichs case and the AAUP’s legal work on this issue at


Aaron Nisenson, Senior Counsel
AAUP-Collective Bargaining Congress
1133 Nineteenth Street, NW, Suite 200
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: 202-737-5900

The AAUP-Collective Bargaining Congress (CBC) supports unionization as the most effective means for academic employees to protect shared governance and
academic freedom, to uphold professional standards and values, and to promote higher education as an investment in our common future.  

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