Happy Friday, friends! I’ve written a lot of words this week, and I suspect you all need a bit of a reading break. You know what that means: Video time! Fortunately, the Reason Foundation has provided a great new video that will suit our needs perfectly.
Yesterday, we talked about how much teachers unions dislike being treated like everyone else—particularly when it comes to recruiting and making sales pitches. As it turns out, they are similarly disinclined to allow teachers to get out of funding them in many states, even if those teachers don’t actually belong to a union and would rather not give money to organizations with which they strongly disagree.
Frustrations with teacher tenure protections convinced public school teacher Rebecca Friedrichs that she didn’t want to support the teachers union. Yet she was still forced to pay them a bunch of money through “agency fees” after she opted out of membership. That (rightfully) made her pretty mad, and resulted in a suit against the California Teachers Association challenging the practice. The U.S. Supreme Court recently agreed to hear the case, called Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, on the basis of Friedrichs’s 1st Amendment complaint. Here’s her story in her own words:
It’s important to note that much of this is not directly applicable in Colorado. Teachers here can nominally decide for themselves whether or not they’d like to join a union or pay dues. However, the process of opting out is often needlessly complex and inconvenient, and a handful of districts actually do automatically collect “dues equivalencies” from non-union teachers unless they explicitly opt out of paying such equivalencies each and every year.
Even if this case likely won’t be hugely impactful in Colorado, it is very, very important. It has the potential to radically alter the funding structures teachers unions have in many states, and would cost the unions an awful lot of money—money that they shouldn’t be getting in the first place. It’s a big step toward fair treatment of teachers who’d rather not support organizations so overtly biased toward the progressive side of the political spectrum. I’ll be watching this case closely in the coming months.