Jane Ladley retired from teaching three years ago, but until two weeks ago the teachers union held part of her pay in escrow. Jane was a religious objector to the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA), meaning she chose not to join the union and requested her fair share fees go to a charity, rather than to the union, as Pennsylvania law allows.
One problem: PSEA officials didn't like the charity Jane chose—an organization that educates Pennsylvanians about the U.S. Constitution—and blocked her donation. Oh, the irony.
But last week, after years of legal work by the Fairness Center, the PSEA capitulated. Jane's chosen charity, the Constitutional Organization Of Liberty (COOL), finally received her donation. Greg Keiper, Chairman of COOL noted:
We appreciate the gift that Ms. Ladley is providing to COOL but we are especially excited on her behalf to see her convictions reinforced by the Supreme Court. This ruling isn’t simply about money but about how an individual can exercise their God-given liberties . . .
The union's decision to release these funds is significant, especially after the U.S. Supreme Court's Janus vs AFCSME decision that outlawed fair share fees. But Jane's story isn't over yet. Jane filed her lawsuit three years ago to not only free her own donations, but to ensure other teachers would not have to face down a powerful union demanding control of their paychecks.
As Senator Folmer noted at a recent press conference, Jane's story,
is a prime example of why COOL was established. You're seeing two great principles of the history of our nation . . . in both liberty of conscience and right to property being violated here.
To fully ensure all teachers in Pennsylvania have complete say over their pay, Pennsylvania's courts must uphold the Janus ruling. Jane Ladley's case could be one of the first to apply the Janus decision in the Keystone State.
Likewise, HB 2571 is a legislative vehicle to ensure Pennsylvania's now-unconstitutional fair share laws are wiped off the books.
At the end of the day, government unions should exist for the benefit of their members, not to advance the political beliefs of union leaders. Teachers, like other professionals, should have complete freedom over their paychecks.