The U.S. Supreme Court issued an important ruling regarding teacher unions on June 27, 2018 in a case called Janus v. AFSCME (American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees).
In a 5-4 decision, the Court held that public employee unions cannot force non-members to pay a partial fee to cover union negotiation costs.
Prior to this ruling, 22 states made non-union members pay partial dues to the unions (known as “agency fees”), which was supposed to cover collective bargaining that benefited even non-union members. This situation was allowed as a result of the 1977 ruling, Abood v. Detroit Board of Education.
Janus overturned Abood on the basis of the First Amendment. And in doing so, the Court struck a blow to public sector unions.
Whatever one thinks of unions in general, we should all oppose government employees forming unions to negotiate higher taxes. For that is exactly what “public-sector” unions do. They are government employees banding together to demand greater pay and benefits, which come from taxes. Contrast this with a union at a private company like Ford, where the workers are at least asking for a greater piece of the profit pie.
The Janus ruling will certainly weaken public-sector unions, which includes teachers unions. Public schools are heavily unionized, and sadly, teachers unions do great harm to society.
Teachers unions are a major player on the political left. The two largest teachers unions, the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, are large donors of the Democratic Party.
This means public schools and thus taxpayer money indirectly supports a political party—certainly an unhealthy relationship. However, the tie between the Democratic Party and the teachers unions also pushes teachers to the left politically. These teachers in turn influence children. I’ll let you draw the conclusions from this situation.
All of this is to say that the Janus ruling will weaken the teachers unions. And this is something to celebrate.