The U.S. Supreme Court's Janus Decision
On June 27, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in a landmark case, Janus vs. AFSCME, that non-union workers cannot be forced to pay fees to public sector unions.
Specifically, the court ruled that public employees, including all public school teachers throughout the U.S., may now choose whether or not to belong to a teachers union, and more importantly, whether or not to pay agency fees required of non-union members. Until this decision was reached, a teacher in New Jersey was forced to pay the union's substantial agency fee, regardless of their membership status. Today’s decision ensures that all public employees in the state of New Jersey are no longer required to pay these agency fees to a union if they wished to opt out of the union.
We are still in the process of learning the precise steps needed for those wishing to opt out of paying fees to the teachers union in New Jersey. (For more information about this check out this link.) However, if this ruling affects your school, you should consult with your school’s attorney to ensure you are compliant with the newly enacted state law, the Workplace Democracy Enhancement Act.
As you may recall, the legislature passed and the Governor signed the Workplace Democracy Enhancement Act last month. This law affects public schools and staff in several ways, including, prohibiting school leaders from having any (in support of, in opposition of, or neutral) conversations with their employees regarding unionization. Schools found in violation of this provision could face significant liability and financial penalties. I’ve attached the chapter law for your files.
All questions regarding the implementation of the Workplace Democracy Enhancement Act and the impact of the Janus decision should be directed to your attorney.
We will continue to keep you updated as we learn more and pass along all relevant resources.
Teacher Rights in New Jersey
New York Times: What the Supreme Court's Janus Decision Means for Teacher Unions