Policy

Teachers Unions Aren’t Going Away, But They Might Take a Hit After This SCOTUS Ruling

By Jenny Abamu     Jun 27, 2018

Teachers Unions Aren’t Going Away, But They Might Take a Hit After This SCOTUS Ruling

JANUS AND TEACHER SALARIES: This week, the Supreme Court’s ruling on the closely-watched Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees case is likely to leave public educators feeling uneasy.

The ruling, a 5-4 split in favor of the plaintiff, Mark Janus, a child support employee at the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, is expected to have a national impact on the wallets, power, and influence of unions. At a high-level, the case concerns whether public-sector employees who indirectly benefit from union representation must still pay union fees, even if they are not involved (or have no interest) in the union. (For more details, see this Vox explainer)

Today’s ruling will legally make all states “Right to Work,” meaning employees who choose to opt out of unions can no longer be forced to pay dues.

Traditionally, union leaders have justified forcing non-members to pay dues by noting how such employees indirectly benefit from union bargaining. For example, in New York City where union leader Michael Mulgrew recently negotiated the first paid parental leave agreement for teachers, all teachers — union members or not — have the right to take advantage of the new rule. In states where teachers have gone on strike over low teacher salaries, some teachers’ unions have been able to successfully negotiate higher pay.

It is unclear how the Janus ruling will make things easier or more difficult for unions in the future. But several organizations on the right and left are already weighing in, noting what this might mean for teacher unions in the future.

Read the court’s decision here.

Policy

Teachers Unions Aren’t Going Away, But They Might Take a Hit After This SCOTUS Ruling

By Jenny Abamu     Jun 27, 2018

Teachers Unions Aren’t Going Away, But They Might Take a Hit After This SCOTUS Ruling

JANUS AND TEACHER SALARIES: This week, the Supreme Court’s ruling on the closely-watched Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees case is likely to leave public educators feeling uneasy.

The ruling, a 5-4 split in favor of the plaintiff, Mark Janus, a child support employee at the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, is expected to have a national impact on the wallets, power, and influence of unions. At a high-level, the case concerns whether public-sector employees who indirectly benefit from union representation must still pay union fees, even if they are not involved (or have no interest) in the union. (For more details, see this Vox explainer)

Today’s ruling will legally make all states “Right to Work,” meaning employees who choose to opt out of unions can no longer be forced to pay dues.

Traditionally, union leaders have justified forcing non-members to pay dues by noting how such employees indirectly benefit from union bargaining. For example, in New York City where union leader Michael Mulgrew recently negotiated the first paid parental leave agreement for teachers, all teachers — union members or not — have the right to take advantage of the new rule. In states where teachers have gone on strike over low teacher salaries, some teachers’ unions have been able to successfully negotiate higher pay.

It is unclear how the Janus ruling will make things easier or more difficult for unions in the future. But several organizations on the right and left are already weighing in, noting what this might mean for teacher unions in the future.

Read the court’s decision here.

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