Friedrichs: An Unexpected Tool for Labor

17 Pages Posted: 8 Nov 2015 Last revised: 31 Oct 2019

Date Written: November 6, 2015


In this piece I make three claims: (1) once Abood is overturned, the exclusive bargaining regime itself violates the First Amendment rights of unions; (2) “right to work” regimes do not exact a takings from unions (a departure from my earlier view), and; (3) Friedrichs and other cases like Knox and Harris, while commonly understood as contributing to the decline/death of labor, may in fact be mobilizing a more politically conscious (and potentially radical) form of labor.

Keywords: Friedrichs, First Amendment, compelled speech, union, unions, Barnette, agency shop, fair share dues, Harris, Knox, Abood, labor, backlash theory, Takings Clause, Eastern Enterprises, labor radicalization, alt-labor

JEL Classification: K1; K31

Suggested Citation

Whitney, Heather M., Friedrichs: An Unexpected Tool for Labor (November 6, 2015). 10 N.Y.U. J. Law & Liberty 191 (2016); U of Chicago, Public Law Working Paper No. 554. Available at SSRN:

Heather M. Whitney (Contact Author)

New York University (NYU) ( email )

New York, NY
United States

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