NEA-NH Reaction to Supreme Court Decision to Hear Janus v. AFSME

Case would make the nation’s entire public sector “right-to-work” 

CONCORD, September 28, 2017- Today the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it would hear Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Council 31.

This case is a purely political scheme to further rig the economy against working people and the middle class by striking at the freedom of working people to come together in strong unions.

Collective bargaining gives educators and students a voice in their schools and workplace. It not only helps assure fair wages and benefits, but also improves teaching and learning conditions. “That means everyone connected to the school benefits, including students, teachers, education support professionals, administrators, and taxpayers,” said Megan Tuttle, NEA-NH President.

“I can’t stress enough that teachers’ working conditions are students’ learning conditions, so by addressing school and classroom issues, everyone gains,” said Tuttle.  “Our local unions routinely negotiate provisions to improve student learning, including setting limits on class size, specifying time for teachers to share effective classroom practices, addressing school building health and safety issues, ensuring teacher input into their own professional learning, and much more.”

Currently, unions are obligated by law to provide and pay for representation in contract negotiations, contract administration, and grievance cases for non-members.  New Hampshire is among those states that permit unions to negotiate a non-member “agency” or “fair share” fee, a proportionate share of the cost of representing and bargaining for non-members.  The discounted agency fee exempts non-members from paying for political or ideological activities that fall outside of the context of contract negotiations or implementation.  Agency fee payers may appeal the calculation of the fee if they think it has not been calculated correctly.

“The U.S. Supreme Court has previously ruled that agency fee provisions are justified since they prevent non-members from receiving services they haven’t paid for,” said Tuttle.

The Janus case is the culmination of decades of attacks on working people by corporate CEOs, the wealthiest 1% and the politicians that do their bidding to rig the economy in their favor. The forces behind this case are the same forces that have pushed for limiting voting rights, attacked immigrants, and undermined civil rights protections.

“It is no secret what backers of this case are looking for: they want to use the Supreme Court to take away the freedom of working people to join together because unions give teachers and students a powerful voice in speaking up for themselves, their families and their communities,” concluded Tuttle.