The much-discussed Supreme Court decision in the case of Janus v. AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) is now just over a month old, but already we see states reacting to its important central holding. At its core, the high court ruling simply held that no money can be taken from a state or local government employee’s paycheck and transferred to a union unless that employee first affirmatively consents.
Many refer to this new requirement as “opt-in.” The reasoning behind the employee’s decision is as basic as the Supreme Court’s holding: The First Amendment does not allow any governmental entity to force an individual to fund speech unless he or she first agrees to that funding.
Teachers are the largest category of employees affected by the Janus decision. The biggest impacts of the high court ruling could be to allow school districts to break out of a decades-old collective bargaining mindset, and to encourage a new spirit of professionalism in the teaching profession.