The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation has issued a special legal notice to teachers and other staff at Minneapolis and St. Paul public schools, whom officials of the Minnesota Federation of Teachers (MFT) union, St. Paul Federation of Educators (SPFE) union, and other unions have ordered to strike beginning March 8. Both MFT and SPFE are affiliates of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) union.
The legal notice informs rank-and-file teachers and other school employees of the rights teacher union bosses won’t inform them of, including their right to refuse to abandon their students and to keep working to support their families despite the union-ordered strike. The notice discusses why workers across the country frequently turn to the National Right to Work Foundation for free legal aid in such situations.
“This situation raises serious concerns for Minneapolis and St. Paul public educators who believe there is much to lose from a union boss-ordered strike and do not want their students to fall behind,” the notice reads. “Employees have the legal right to rebuff union officials’ strike demands, but it is important for them to be fully informed before they do so.”
The full notice is available at https://www.nrtw.org/mft-strike-legal-notice/.
The notice outlines the process that Minneapolis and St. Paul educators should follow if they want to exercise their right to resign their union memberships and return to work during the strike while avoiding punishment by union bosses. The notice also links to sample union membership resignation letters.
The notice reminds educators of their First Amendment right, under the 2018 Foundation-won Janus v. AFSCME Supreme Court decision, to cut off all union dues payments. In Janus, the High Court recognized that public sector employees like public educators cannot be forced to pay any union dues or fees to get or keep a job, and that union officials can only deduct union dues or fees from public employees’ paychecks with their affirmative consent.
The Foundation scored a victory just last week for a Los Angeles-area public teacher who was the target of Janus rights violations by California Teachers Association (CTA) officials. Natalie Bahl, a teacher at Camino Nuevo Charter Academy, sent a letter to union and school officials exercising her Janus right to stop union deductions, only to find afterward that school administrators were still taking dues from her paycheck at the behest of CTA bosses. After Foundation staff attorneys sent a letter threatening litigation if the illegally-taken monies were not returned to Bahl, CTA officials backed down and refunded the ill-gotten money.
“Minneapolis and St. Paul educators should know they unequivocally have the right to reject union boss strike orders and continue working to make sure their pupils do not fall behind,” commented National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation President Mark Mix. “The last two years showed some particularly aggressive politicking by top teacher union bosses across the country, especially AFT President Randi Weingarten, which resulted in long-running, heavy-handed restrictions on public education. With that in mind, public school employees are right to question whether this strike is really what is best for the Twin Cities’ kids, teachers, and community at large.”
“Rank-and-file educators should immediately contact the Foundation for free legal aid if they believe union officials may be violating their legal rights,” added Mix.
The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, assists thousands of employees in around 250 cases nationwide per year.