Jade Thompson is a Spanish teacher at Marietta High School in Ohio.
What could you do with an extra $14,000? Buy a new car? Put a down payment on a home? Build your child’s college fund? I can think of many ways to spend this, but unfortunately, I had no choice but to hand it over to a union simply because I’m a public school teacher in Ohio, where people can be fired for not paying money to a union.
Over the 15 years I’ve taught in my small district, I estimate I’ve paid $14,000 in union fees and dues, but an end to this injustice is finally in sight. This morning, the Supreme Court ruled in Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees that government employees like me cannot be forced to pay a union just to work in public service. An enormous weight has been lifted off our shoulders.
For the first seven years I was a teacher, I paid full membership dues to the union, at a rate of more than $1,000 a year. In 2010, I discovered the union was using my dues to run a political campaign against my husband, who was running for the Ohio House of Representatives. I was shocked to discover the amount of money they were pouring into a campaign against him, and then I was dismayed to realize my dues were helping pay for it!