Advocates for Labor and Progressive Institutions

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First Circuit rejects constitutional challenge to exclusive representation

October 4, 2019

The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a constitutional challenge to a Maine statute providing that, when a majority of employees within a bargaining unit support union representation, the union serves as the exclusive bargaining representative for all employees within the bargaining unit.

The First Circuit began by rejecting the plaintiff’s principal argument that the statute violated his First Amendment rights by compelling him to accept the union as his personal representative, holding instead that the law established the union as the representative of the bargaining unit as a whole. The Court also rejected the plaintiff’s alternative argument that Janus v. AFSCME Council 31, 138 S. Ct. 2448 (2018), compelled the First Circuit to abandon Supreme Court and circuit precedent establishing the constitutionality of exclusive representation in labor relations. Bredhoff & Kaiser represented the Associated Faculties of the Universities of Maine in defending the statute, both in the district court and on appeal. Reisman v. Associated Faculties of the Univ. of Maine, 939 F.3d 409 (1st Cir. 2019).