Freedom Foundation

Don’t wait for Janus

For many years now—long before Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association or Janus v. AFSCME cases were argued—the Freedom Foundation has actively helped union members become agency fee payers and deny unions the right to use their hard-earned money for political purposes.

Decades-old Supreme Court rulings have established that public employees have the ability to resign their formal union membership and pay a reduced representation fee to the union as a way to avoid paying for political or ideological activities.

From 1995 to 2007, the Freedom Foundation assisted teachers who objected to being forced to pay for the Washington Education Association’s election activity. Those teachers ultimately won a U.S. Supreme Court Case, Davenport v. Washington Education Association, establishing that states can adopt worker protection laws to curtail union abuses. Throughout the litigation, the Freedom Foundation helped tens of thousands of teachers understand their rights.

Few educators are aware they have this option, much less how to exercise it. Unions obviously have a financial interest in obscuring these facts and making it difficult for public employees to opt out.

But every union member currently has the right to reject paying the political portion of their union dues. These “Agency Fee Payers” still must pay representation fees which support the overall organization including its agenda, financial excesses, and overall impact on society.

The fight in Janus v. AFSCME seeks to make the case that the entire work of these government unions is unavoidably political. If the court rules with Mr. Janus and against the union, it will allow those in union workplaces to make their own choices about whether or not to fund all or part of the union.

Those who are already agency fee payers will cease to pay hundreds of dollars in mandatory fees.

A recent article posted in the LA School Report details precisely the immediate impact that such a ruling would have on the union financial enterprise. According to the report, nearly 12 percent of teachers in the United Teachers of Los Angeles are paying the fee which would end. Likewise, more than eight percent of teachers paying fees to the San Diego Education Association would see their withholding end.

California’s higher education employees have an even higher percentage of agency fee payers, because these college professors and staff generally lack many of the job protections that K-12 educators possess. The report states that the Community College Association (CCA) has 30.5 percent paying fees, and the California Faculty Association (CFA) has 34.1 percent fee payers.

If the Court listens to the public employees who have sued the union and rules that forced fees must end, then the CTA. CFA, and CCA would need to learn how to earn customers or risk losing tens of millions of dollars.

Educators do not need to wait until the Janus ruling make their decision about paying the excessive charges levied by the unions. The Freedom Foundation has prepared a resource for these educators to become agency fee payers right now and to reclaim the overcharges.

And if the U.S. Supreme Court agrees that all of the agenda of government unions is inherently political, they could see the end of any wage garnishment as soon as this summer.

If you or any of your acquaintances are frustrated by their forced payment of these unions, direct them to