Susan G. Fischer teaches Italian in New Jersey public schools. All in all, she calculates that she’s involuntarily ceded about $30,000 of hard-earned salary to union dues during her 30-year teaching career. Mandatory payments increase annually; her tab last year was $1,222. While she harbors no resentment toward the $25 a year she pays to her local bargaining unit at Ocean Township Public Schools and the $50 per year she pays to the Monmouth County unit, praising the collegial relationships and professional development opportunities, she’s always resented the $200 per year she pays to the National Education Association and, most adamantly, the $800 per year — Fischer calls it “highway robbery” — that goes to the state union, the New Jersey Education Association.
This system of involuntary payments to support lobbying that she mostly disagrees with was supposed to end with the Supreme Court’s ruling this past June in Janus v. AFSCME, which bars union shops from mandating membership and dues payments. Mandatory union membership, said SCOTUS, is a violation of the Constitution’s First Amendment right to free speech. But this system didn’t end in New Jersey, because legislators, with a heavy assist from NJEA sycophant Gov. Phil Murphy, preemptively circumvented the Janus ruling through a law called the Workplace Democracy Enhancement Act. Now, Fischer and her colleague Jeanette Speck have filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court against Murphy, NJEA, and the Township of Ocean Education Association.