The U.S. Supreme Court announced a 5-4 decision on Wednesday in Janus v. American Federation of State, Country, and Municipal Employees, Council 31, that reaffirms the First Amendment, especially people’s freedom of association.
The ruling today eliminates compulsory unionism, which requires individuals to join a union as a condition of employment. It will influence the cycle where government unions collect compulsory fees from government workers and then use it to help elect pro-union politicians to achieve and maintain political power — who then empower and enrich the government employee unions.
“No American worker should be forced to become or remain a union member,” JC Bowman, executive director of Professional Educators of Tennessee, told The Tennessee Star after the decision was announced.
People should be free to join, or not join any organization or union they want, without losing their job or be forced to pay for political agendas with which they disagree based on political or ideological purposes. The Janus Decision will not create drastic structural changes to unions. It will simply make them more accountable to their own members. And in the case of teacher unions, this greater accountability should focus on making the quality of education front and center, help public education rebuild support from the public for issues like raising teacher pay and school funding, and work for the common good of all students and educators.
The ruling is a blow to the funding of all major unions in the country, including the National Education Association, and its arm here in Tennessee, the Tennessee Education Association. In Tennessee, teachers will now no longer be forced to contribute to the TEA against their will.
Read the Court’s decision: