Sixth Circuit Rejects Constitutional Challenge to Exclusive Representative Collective Bargaining

August 25, 2020 – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit today rejected a constitutional challenge to Ohio’s use of a democratic system of exclusive representative collective bargaining to set employment terms for public school teachers. Like many other states, Ohio allows units of public employees, if they choose, to elect a union representative to negotiate with the public employer about unit-wide terms and conditions of employment. In the case before the Sixth Circuit, one public school teacher – represented by the Buckeye Institute – argued that these collective bargaining systems should be invalidated as a violation of the First Amendment, even if public employees do not have to join or financially support the majority-chosen union representative. The Sixth Circuit rejected that argument as foreclosed by Supreme Court precedent, thereby reaching the same conclusion as all the other courts to consider the same issue. Altshuler Berzon LLP represented the Marietta Education Association in defending the Ohio Law. The case is Thompson v. Marietta Education Association, et al., Sixth Cir. Case No. 19-4217.