by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
A majority of teachers are unaware of their newly won right to opt out of union dues, according to a new poll.
In June 2018, the Supreme Court declared that government agencies could no longer mandate union dues or fee payments as a condition of employment in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees. Despite the landmark ruling, a majority of American teachers remain ignorant of their ability to decline such payments and are also confused about the consequences of withdrawing from the union. A YouGov poll of 1,000 educators found 77 percent had not heard of the landmark case and 52 percent were unaware that they could continue to work without paying dues or fees.
The poll results reflected the reality on the ground, according to several teachers affiliated with the education reform group Teacher Freedom Project, which commissioned the poll. Greg Kuehn, a special-needs teacher at Minnesota’s Park Rapids Area School District, said in a release that many of his colleagues are not knowledgeable about their legal rights.
“The vast majority of teachers at my school have no idea that there is another choice when it comes to union membership,” Kuehn said in a statement. “They are shocked and in disbelief that it’s true and they are still unsure and afraid. I think it’s going to take a long time before all teachers know about Janus and feel comfortable making a choice.”