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Labor Law and the First Amendment

April 1, 1985

In this essay, written by former California State University-East Bay Professor of Economics Charles W. Baird, the interaction of free speech rights and labor law is explored in depth.

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In this essay, written by former California State University-East Bay Professor of Economics Charles W. Baird, the interaction of free speech rights and labor law is explored in depth.

 “The Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA), which is the original 1935 Wagner Act as amended by the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act, the 1926 Railway Labor Act as amended in 1951 (RLA), and state laws which affect government employees in their jurisdictions all have essentially the same anti-First Amendment provisions,” Baird writes, “labor unions spend a fair amount oftheir revenue from dues and agency fees for partisan and ideological purposes. While dues money collected from voluntary members may, without any impairment of their First Amendment freedoms, be so spent, compulsory agency fees paid by nonmembers may not be.”

Author
Charles W. Baird received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1968. He then spent five years on the faculty at UCLA where, he says, he actually learned economics, mainly from Armen Alchian.
charles.baird@csueastbay.edu