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California teachers challenge union fees

The repercussions Supreme Court of the United State’s (SCOTUS) ruling of the Janus v. AFSCME continues to be felt. The latest example involves five teachers launching a class action against the California Teachers Association and its local union affiliates as well as five school district superintendents and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. SCOTUS ruled in its last term that public sector unions needed to discontinue its decades-long practice of collecting fair share fees from non-union members for negotiating collective bargaining agreements. This practice, it said, violated an employee’s First Amendment Rights.

The plaintiffs from different districts claim that they were not told that could opt out of joining the local teacher's unions. When the teachers subsequently quit their membership, the union told them that they would have to continue until a specified withdrawal period ended.

The teachers seek a refund of the money taken for improper dues. Also, the teachers want their dues if they sign onto the bargaining unit to only go to political actions and activities that they agree with. The suit also seeks a requirement stating that employees do not need to join the union.

The Janus v. AFSCME ruling can and will present many challenges to municipalities, cities and of course school districts here in California. These are often well-funded by conservative organizations like the Freedom Foundation, which aggressively targets public sector workers with mailers, videos, billboards and even door to door visits with employees.

Attorneys can help public employees and public entities protect their values and their way of life in light of the SCOTUS ruling. This can be done through negotiation, litigation or even consultation that enables public entities to address new issues resulting from Janus v. AFSCME or other recent rulings.

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