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Washington State: Davenport's suit to be heard by SCOTUS this week

AP reports: Former high school teacher Gary Davenport didn't have any particular problem with unions and even had a union job in college, but the man whose name is on an anti-union lawsuit to be heard next week by the U.S. Supreme Court says politics kept him from joining up when he got his teaching job in 1998.

"I decided I didn't want to become a member because of some of the political stances they take," said Davenport, 32, who was already on his way out of teaching when Davenport v. Washington Education Association was filed in state courts in 2000. ...

When the Evergreen Freedom Foundation contacted him and other nonmember teachers, who are still required to pay hundreds of dollars to the union each year to pay for contract negotiations, Davenport said their questions caught his attention.

He agreed to let the conservative think tank and longtime union adversary put his name on the lawsuit but now can't remember the details of the conversation. Davenport v. Washington Education Association has been combined by the Supreme Court with a similar lawsuit filed by the state of Washington against the union. Both cases involve the fees paid to the union by teachers who declined to join.

Under a series of Supreme Court rulings reaching back nearly 30 years, those workers can be charged a fee to pay for labor negotiations that affect them but can't be forced to pay for the union's political activism.

At issue this next week is whether the union needs teachers to say "yes" before the fees can be used for political causes or whether teachers must specifically object to having a portion of the fees spent for that purpose. -- The Daily News Online

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