USA Today: Supreme Court’s Janus v AFSCME ruling will force unions to be more accountable

Aaron Anthony Benner has been a Minnesota educator for 21 years.

Unions can be great for workers. But supporting workers’ rights isn’t political, and it doesn’t make you anti-union.

As a teacher in Minnesota, I didn’t have a choice about whether or not to pay the union that was supposed to represent me, and when my union ultimately failed to stand by my side during a dispute with my district, I had no choice but to continue paying it.

Fortunately for teachers and other public employees across the country, no government worker will be forced to pay a union just so they can keep their job moving forward. The Supreme Court has ruled in Janus v. AFSCME that requiring someone to pay a union violates the First Amendment’s protections of free speech and association.

It means that, if another teacher or public employee is let down by his or her union, that person doesn’t have to continue paying dues or fees if that’s not in his or her best interest. Or, if that person chooses not to belong to a union for any other reason, he or she could continue working anyway. In addition to being fair to workers who deserve the freedom to choose whether or not to pay a union, I believe this ruling will lead to unions that are more responsive and attentive to their members.

Read the full op-ed in USA Today.