Monday, April 09, 2012

Williams v. PERB (Cal. Ct. App. - April 9, 2012)

I'm not really feeling it here.

Melanie Williams and Demontheses Halcoussis are professors at Cal State Northridge.  That's a place in which a union represents the employees, so Professors Williams and Halcoussis get the benefit of a union negotiating on their behalf.  But Professors Williams and Halcoussis probably don't like that fact, so they refuse to join the thing.

That's their right.  You're not required to associate with people you don't like.  Though that doesn't relieve you of your obligation to pay union dues, since you're materially benefitting from the representation.  That's what I learned in Labor Law twenty-some years ago.

All of this is fine.  But then budget cuts rear their ugly head and the University is thinking about instituting a furlough program.  So the union -- and its members -- have to decide whether they're going to accept the proposal or fight it.

Professors Williams and Halcoussis still don't want to join the union.  But they nonetheless want the right to vote on what the union's stance should be.  And claim that they have a constitutional right to do so.

No dice.

You can protest the union by not joining.  You can even speak at a meeting.  But you refused to join.  That has consequences.  One of which is that you're not entitled to vote on the stance that's taken by an institution with which you refuse to associate.

I can perhaps understand why Professor Halcoussis don't understand that.  He's an economics professor.  But Professor Williams has a J.D. from B.U., teaches business law and is a member of the California Bar.  She should know better.