Teachers Sue State, NJEA for Allegedly Violating Supreme Court Ruling on Union Dues

NJTV News | November 16, 2018 | Education
Two Ocean Township teachers file federal class action suit, want to be able to opt out more easily

Two Ocean Township teachers are filing a federal class action suit against the state of New Jersey, the NJEA and their local union. They claim the labor groups are violating a recent U.S. Supreme Court Janus ruling that prevents unions from collecting dues if a public employee opts out.

Sue Fischer, one of the teachers, said that after three decades of NJEA membership, she has had enough. “I am not anti-union. I am a team player,” she said. “I’ve been a teacher for 30 years… You have to pay if you join and pay if you don’t join. That was so un-American to us.”

In May, Gov. Phil Murphy signed an amendment to legislation concerning union opt-outs, giving public employees just 10 days following the anniversary of their employment each year to withdraw from their union.

Fischer said she pays $1,245 a year for union membership. Before Janus, she’d been forced to pay 85 percent of that even when opting out. She said most of the money goes straight to Trenton.

“We would love to continue to support our local and our county. Monmouth County Education Association is wonderful. They maintain their dues at $25 a year all these years. They give amazing workshops. They support us. But we can’t,” Fisher said.

The lawsuit seeks to strike down the New Jersey amendment and recoup fees paid by teachers without consent.

In a statement, NJEA spokesperson Steve Baker said, “This is another attack funded by wealthy anti-union groups seeking to undermine the rights of working people to form strong, effective unions.”

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