On June 27, 2018, the United States Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling in Janus v. AFSCME. The court ruled that public-sector employees no longer had to financially support a union, if they did not want to. Previously, unions could legally force workers, who chose not to join, to pay fair share fees, and most did. Four years after Janus, litigation has trickled down to the state level. Recently, Jane Ladley, a retired public school teacher, won an eight-year battle with the state’s largest teachers’ union, the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA). This battle culminated in a judge ruling Pennsylvania’s fair share fee statute unconstitutional under Janus.
With the unconstitutionality of fair share fees now well-established, it is important to see if teachers’ unions respect the court rulings. Thanks to Americans for Fair Treatment’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) Database, the general public can instantly access teacher union contracts and other CBAs without filing public records requests. Based on an analysis of 471 available, unexpired contracts, 149 teachers’ union contracts still contain fair share fee language.
Of those 471 contracts, 63 were negotiated before the Janus decision. When excluding pre-Janus contracts, 96 contracts (23.5 percent) hold fair share fee language. An additional 76 contracts contain an automatic trigger provision that would re-institute fair share fee collection if the Supreme Court reverses the Janus ruling. Outside of litigation, not much can be done to remove fair share fees from contracts.
Thankfully, House Bill 2042 would require employers to notify public employees that they do not have to pay any funds to a labor union they do not support. Passing HB 2042 would ensure that teachers in those 96 districts are aware of their Janus rights.
Below is a searchable table that summarizes important provisions of all 471 available contracts.