In a closely watched case, the U.S. Supreme Court prohibited mandatory public-employee labor organization union fees (“Supreme Court Deals Blow to Public-Sector Unions,” The Wall Street Journal, Jun. 27). It also held that workers must expressly opt into the union before fees can be taken out of their paychecks.
Prior to Janus v. American Federation of State, Country, and Municipal Employees Council 31, teachers who didn’t want to join the union were required to pay agency fees when those fees were used for collective-bargaining. The ruling was cheered by some as a corrective to the high court’s decision in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education in 1977.
I’ll restrict my comments to the effects that the decision will have on teachers. Their unions will continue to exist, but they will be severely undermined. With the exception of diehards, many teachers will let their membership expire because they will get the same benefits as if they had paid. These free riders will have it both ways: They will pay nothing to their union but will get full benefits. Teacher union membership in the Los Angeles Unified School District has already declined from 42,000 to 31,000 since 2007.
If those teachers genuinely believe in what they are doing is right, they should refuse to accept whatever benefits their unions provide. I vividly remember when some teachers at the high school in the Los Angeles Unified School District where I taught for 28 years crossed the picket lines during the three strikes I participated in. They said they did so because they believed in the “right to work.” Well, no one was preventing them from working.
As teachers in public schools across the nation continue to be attacked from all sides and their unions are hamstrung, who will want to make a career in the classroom? It’s a bleak picture.
(To post a comment, click on the title of this blog.)