After Janus, Will We See the Teachers Union of Tomorrow?

After Janus, Will We See the Teachers Union of Tomorrow?
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Make no bones about it. Teachers unions are reeling from a game-changing decision from the U.S. Supreme Court, issued the same day as the news of Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement, so largely overlooked in news coverage. The public may not have much noticed, but unions feel they are standing at a precipice, not at all certain they can maintain the power they're long accustomed to wielding.

After the high court sided with Janus in Janus vs. AFSCME, public-sector workers will no longer be required to contribute to their unions, something nearly half of all states — including Minnesota — require regardless of whether teachers choose to belong to the union. The nation's largest union, the National Education Association (NEA), having just held its annual convention in Minneapolis, expects to be hard hit. It's anyone's best guess how many of the 78,000 active teachers who currently contribute to the Education Minnesota union will opt out in the years ahead, but the initial hit will almost certainly include some 7,000 teachers who have already registered their discontent over having been forced to contribute.

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