It’s the season for Halloween parties, bonfires, costumes, jack-o-lantern-carving, navigating corn mazes and pumpkin spice everything. For most youngsters, it’s trick-or-treating they look forward to as autumn gives way to winter.
But for public employees and teachers, not so much. Union bosses are working overtime to make sure they’re always tricked and never treated.
Thankfully that’s changing in the Buckeye state, as one August opt-out campaign led to 1,200 union members dropping their membership and keeping more of their own money for candy, costumes and of course, gasoline.
Like all Americans, educators were endowed by their creator with the freedom to choose how to spend their hard-earned money. But unions have different ideas. The way they see it, teachers are little more than a resource Big Labor can plunder as it wishes to fund the radical political agenda of the movement’s leaders.
For decades teachers and school employees have been bullied and threatened to sign on the dotted line if they valued their jobs. Many no doubt resented this treatment but, weighed against the necessity of feeding a family and continuing to work in their chosen field, union membership and dues were written off as a necessary evil.
The operative word being evil.
The tables turned, however, in 2018, when the U.S. Supreme Court recognized in Janus v. AFSCME that compulsory union membership and dues are — and always have been — a violation of the worker’s First Amendment rights. Consequently, teachers cannot be forced to participate in a union or punished if they decline.
Ohio educators, like their peers in other states, have been opting out in droves ever since.
In response, union bosses have devised countless illegal and unconstitutional schemes to keep the revenue stream flowing. These include limiting opt-outs to only a few arbitrarily chosen days a year based on the fine print of membership cards that may have been signed decades ago — prior to the Janus ruling — and often under duress and coercion.
Union powerbrokers couldn’t be more thankful for this confusing, hard-to-interpret language. The exit windows for school employees and educators (during which it is permissible to discontinue union dues) were specifically designed to be difficult to understand and act upon.
Union bosses had peace of mind. An insurance policy, of sorts.
Rights enshrined in the Constitution couldn’t and weren’t going to thwart their greed or the financial backing of political cabals. Or so they thought.
These opaque windows, however, weren’t too complicated for Ohio’s determined Freedom Foundation staff to help teachers and public employee see through.
At the end of August, the organization mailed hundreds of letters to teachers in every corner of the state explaining their rights and offering to help them break free from their union’s grasp.
When the dust settled, 1,200 had done just that, keeping more than $700 a year in their own pockets, despite the best efforts of the unions to coerce, deceive and suppress their rights.
Who’s doing the tricking now?
It’s gratifying to know these 1,200 teachers and public employees got the treat they deserved and are entitled to this Halloween while the hobgoblins running Ohio’s teachers’ unions were handed something decidedly less sweet to chew on.