The United States Supreme Court ruled today in the Janus v. AFSCME case in Washington, DC. We’re delighted with the decision.
No citizen in America should be forced to be a member of a political organization in a free society, and despite teachers unions’ claims to the contrary, their activities have been quite political. Not only do these include union positions against educational innovations like merit pay and school choice, but also their advocacy on topics far beyond the scope of classroom, such as health care, immigration, and environmental policy. Forcing a teacher to fund this varied array of political positions, simply because they have a calling to educate young people, is a violation of fundamental free speech rights.
Just as no one should prohibit a teacher from joining a union if they wish, nor should any group have the authority to compel membership.
Union dues or fees are real money. Just as no one should prohibit a teacher from joining a union if they wish, nor should any group have the authority to compel membership. The fact is that teachers who want nothing to do with a union are currently forced riders. Instead, teachers ought to be able to spend their money on students, charities, family and friends in need, or on other causes that they support, if it’s their wish.
It’s great news to hear that the federal high court has chosen to protect the freedoms of individual workers to spend their own money as they choose. And ironically, this so-called blow to teachers unions may make them better. After all, a group that actually has to earn its dues payments is likely to be a lot more accountable to its members.