NOTE: Constitutional Law--Public Employees--"Freedom of Association" Guarantees the Right to Unionize but not the Right to Bargain Collectively Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) Tulane University 1970.
Tulane Law Review

NOTE: Constitutional Law--Public Employees--"Freedom of Association" Guarantees the Right to Unionize but not the Right to Bargain Collectively

April, 1970

Tulane Law Review

44 Tul. L. Rev. 568

Author

Rutledge C. Clement, Jr.

Excerpt

Desiring to unionize and to become affiliated with an international union, plaintiffs, who were municipally employed firemen, brought suit against the City of Charlotte to have declared unconstitutional and enjoined from use three North Carolina statutes. 1 North Carolina General Statutes, chapter 95, section 97 2 barred firemen and policemen from membership in an affiliate of a national or international union which had as one of its objectives collective bargaining. Contracts negotiated between public employee unions and governmental employers were prohibited by section 95-98, 3 while section 95-99 4 sanctioned as a misdemeanor the violation of either of the foregoing sections. The plaintiffs argued that the antiunion law infringed their freedom of association and that the prohibition against collective bargaining was a denial of due process and equal protection for public employees. 5 The City contended that no legal basis existed to substantiate the claim that public employees in general, and firemen in particular, are entitled to union membership and collective bargaining. The three-judge federal court held sections 95-97 and 95-99 unconstitutional, but did not upset section 95-98. Atkins v. City of Charlotte, 296 F. Supp. 1068 (W.D.N.C. 1969).

The court stated that a law which restrains public employees from unionizing is "void on its face as an abridgment of freedom of association protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments" due to "intolerable 'overbreadth' unnecessary to the protection of valid state interests." On the other hand, the no-contract provision was considered constitutional ...
 
 
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