April 3, 2018 — Liv Finne, Center for Education at the Washington Policy Center
On February 26th, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). Mark Janus, a child support specialist working for the Illinois state government, was challenging state laws that force him to pay dues to the AFSCME union. He does not agree with the union’s politics or policies and does not believe he should have to help pay to support them. The Supreme Court will likely issue a decision by late June.
If Mr. Janus wins his case, teachers, students, and families across the country will benefit, as school employees learn they do not have to join a union against their will. Ending forced unionism will reduce fear and conflict in public school working conditions, meaning increased morale and respect for teachers, and higher-quality instruction for students.
Currently, public school teachers in Washington State must pay about $1,000 in annual dues to the powerful Washington Education Association (WEA) or risk losing their jobs. Many feel intimidated, moreover, fearing they will be punished if they voice opinions contrary to those of union executives.