Mandatory union membership was invalidated by the U.S. Supreme Court, yet some teacher unions still require fee payments in violation of the ruling.
In 2018, the Supreme Court ruled in Janus v. AFSCME that public-sector workers could no longer be required to pay union dues and fees. In Pennsylvania, labor laws allowed unions to continue to demand “fair share fees” as a condition of employment beyond the Janus ruling until a Scranton teacher sued his teachers union, The Federalist reports.
David Perrotti, the Scranton-area teacher, disregarded “threatening” letters from the union demanding back payment of union dues claiming he missed their resignation window when leaving the union. Instead, he hired the Fairness Center to force compliance with Janus in Pennsylvania.
The Pennsylvania teachers’ union settled with Perrotti this fall, affirming his right not to pay union dues and fees, reports The Federalist.
Teacher Demands Janus Rights
Under Janus, teachers can choose to join the union or not, but they cannot be mandated to join or pay fees. The collective bargaining agreement with Perrotti’s school was signed after the Janus ruling and Perrotti never gave his affirmative consent to the collection of union fees, as required by Janus.
President and general counsel of the Fairness Center, Nathan McGrath, told The Federalist he continues to see unions deliberately attempt to circumvent the ruling to collect fees.
“Union officials continue to disregard employees’ rights and use underhanded tactics to keep nonmembers paying union fees,” McGrath said.
“Apparently, the AHEA [Abington Heights Education Association], an affiliate of the Pennsylvania State Education Association, decided to ignore the court’s decision and coerce employees into paying union dues and fees anyway,” writes Kevin Mooney for The Federalist. “This is not an isolated incident.”
Fairness Center attorney Danielle Acker Susanj testified in a public hearing before the Pennsylvania House Labor and Industries committee to the fact that several of her firm’s public employee clients are working under unconstitutional contracts after Janus. Susanj said her firm identified at least 20 collective bargaining agreements signed after the Supreme Court ruling, illegally requiring employees to pay union dues.
‘Constitutional Rights under Janus‘
Susanj said many public sector workers are not advised of their rights and they do not have ready access to legal advice.
“Without knowing that they had constitutional rights under Janus not to pay the union as condition of employment, they signed documents that union officials now use to claim that they have to keep paying even when they are not members,” Susanj said.
Unions routinely send significant donations to political campaigns. Between 1990 and 2010, 93 percent of the National Education Association (NEA) political action committee (PAC) and union officer donations went to Democrat candidates, UnionFacts.com reports.
“But the union is not just favoring Democrats—it’s pushing them leftward,” writes James Freeman in an opinion for the Wall Street Journal.
NEA: ‘Transform’ Public Education
National Education Association President, Becky Pringle, spoke to the 2021 NEA Assembly calling for the transformation of public education.
“The NEA will lead a movement that unites not just our members, but the nation to reclaim public education as a common good and transform it into something it was never designed to be—a racially and socially just and equitable system that prepares every student, everyone, to succeed in a diverse and interdependent world,” Pringle said.
She went on to say that the pandemic, “exacerbated the inequities that have since its inception plagued the U.S. education system.”
“We’ve done a lot of difficult and inspirational and impactful work,” Pringle said, “from electing President Biden—a true friend of educators and their unions—to voting in a new Senate, to securing historic investments in our schools; to winning court and legislative battles attacking our students’ rights to safe and equitable schools, our rights as educators to organize, our rights as a union to exist.”
Unions ‘About Money and Power’
Former teacher and founder of For Kids and Country, Rebecca Friedrichs says, “It’s all about money and power for the unions and achievement of progressive-Left goals.”
“Teachers unions and other government unions are the transmission vehicles for communism,” Friedrichs says. “They want to condemn America. They want us to be communists. It’s a planned hijacking, and it is done on purpose.”
A letter written by a collation of education policy experts, and posted on the Heritage Foundation website, calls on legislators to enact policies needed to reject the destructive curriculum the unions favor. The letter says, “An avowedly Marxist worldview known as ‘critical theory’ has spread within American culture.”
The letter says the teaching is designed to undermine society and the social order and encourage students to question traditional, foundational, and patriotic American history and teaching. The letter notes that the intent of the racist curriculum is disruption and to, “lay the groundwork of wide-scale resistance.”
“Any country that has fallen has started with the schools first,” Friedrich says. “It’s very much a planned takeover. They have been destroying our education and moral systems on purpose. That’s what’s so diabolical—it’s all on purpose.”
Pence: ‘End the Government Monopoly’
Former Vice President Mike Pence spoke on education freedom at Patrick Henry College at the end of October.
“America is not a racist country,” Pence said. “America is the most just, righteous, and inclusive nation the world has ever known because in America we are one family, one people, one nation under God that strives every day for a more perfect union.”
“It’s time to end the government monopoly of public education in America” Pence said.