Teacher Freedom in a Post-Janus World

Teacher Freedom in a Post-Janus World
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

The Supreme Court's Janus v. AFSCME decision in June freed government workers nationwide—including public school teachers—from being forced to pay money to unions as a condition of employment. But that ruling was just a start toward liberating public servants from the grip of the unions that control their jobs. The next step should be eliminating the unions' ability to establish themselves as exclusive representatives of all employees.

Even in a post-Janus world, unions in most states hold all the power in negotiating salary, benefits, and work conditions. Were teachers allowed to bargain for themselves or even to form a rival union, Big Labor would face its worst nightmare, something even more abhorrent than a right-to-work country: competition. As teacher-union watchdog Mike Antonucci writes, “The very first thing any new union wants is exclusivity,” whereby “no other unions are allowed to negotiate on behalf of people in the bargaining unit. Unit members cannot hire their own agent, nor can they represent themselves.” Teachers should be free to negotiate for themselves, without a union. The idea of a “members only” union is fair to both sides, but monopoly-minded union leaders adamantly oppose it.

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