Lehnert v. Ferris Faculty Association

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Court Documents

United States Supreme Court

500 U.S. 507

Lehnert  v.  Ferris Faculty Association

No. 89-1217  Argued: Nov. 5, 1990. --- Decided: May 30, 1991

Rehearing Denied June 24, 1991. See --- U.S. ----, 111 S.Ct. 2978.


Subsequent to Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, 431 U.S. 209, 97 S.Ct. 1782, 52 L.Ed.2d 261, in which the Court upheld the constitutionality of the Michigan Public Employment Relations Act's agency-shop provision and outlined permissible union uses of the "service fee" authorized by the provision, respondent Ferris Faculty Association (FFA), which is an affiliate of the Michigan Education Association (MEA) and the National Education Association (NEA), and which serves as the exclusive bargaining representative of the faculty of Michigan's Ferris State College, a public institution, entered into an agency-shop arrangement with the college, whereby bargaining unit employees who do not belong to the FFA are required to pay it, the MEA, and the NEA a service fee equivalent to a union member's dues. Petitioners, members of the Ferris faculty who objected to particular uses by the unions of their service fees, filed suit under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985, and 1986, claiming, inter alia, that such uses for purposes other than negotiating and administering the collective-bargaining agreement violated their rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments. As here relevant, the District Court held that certain of the union expenditures were constitutionally chargeable to petitioners. The Court of Appeals affirmed, concluding that each of the activities in question was sufficiently related to the unions' duties as petitioners' exclusive collective-bargaining representative to justify compelling petitioners to assist in subsidizing it.

Held: The judgment is affirmed in part and reversed in part, and the case is remanded.

881 F.2d 1388 (CA6 1989), affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).