The plaintiffs -- represented by the the Center for Individual Rights (CIR), a conservative public interest law firm -- argue that the mandatory fees, which support costs associated with collective bargaining, violate their First Amendment rights.
"Requiring teachers to pay these 'agency fees' assumes that collective bargaining is non-political," reads a posting on CIR's website. "But bargaining with local governments is inherently political. Whether the union is negotiating for specific class sizes or pressing a local government to spend tax dollars on teacher pensions rather than on building parks, the union's negotiating positions embody political choices that are often controversial."
Declining wages among men drove 40 percent of the progress in closing the U.S. gender wage gap over the past 35 years, according to research by the Economic Policy Institute.
Experts at the Washington, D.C.-based progressive think tank highlighted that finding last month as they unveiled a "Women's Economic Agenda." EPI's 12-point policy agenda looks to improve economic security for women and families by closing the gender pay gap and promoting broad-based wage growth.
"Over the last several decades women have entered the workforce in record numbers and made great strides in educational attainment. Nevertheless, when compared with men, women are still paid less, are more likely to hold low-wage jobs, and are more likely to live in poverty," reads the agenda's accompanying report by EPI's Alyssa Davis and Elise Gould. "Gender wage disparities are present at all wage levels and within education categories, occupations, and sectors--sometimes to a grave degree."