For this Freedom Friday, I will discuss an important liberty principle that was taught in a decision handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court. The conservative majority on the court ruled this week that public employees could not be compelled to pay union dues. The decision supports the following statement made by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
All government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service.
The high court made their ruling on the basis of freedom of speech. They declared that public unions could not force employees to pay dues. Justice Samuel Alito wrote the following statement for the court’s majority.
Free speech serves many ends. It is essential to our democratic form of government, and it furthers the search for truth. Whenever the federal government or a state prevents individuals from saying what they think on important matters or compels them to voice ideas with which they disagree, it undermines these ends.
In other words, freedom of speech protects Americans’ right to say something or to remain silent. Forcing public servants to pay union dues betrays their convictions, according to Alito, and thus forces them to support causes with which they do not agree.