The Janus Effect: Teachers’ union opens resignation window to 30 days
With the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s ruling on Janus v. AFSCME upon us (June 27), the Janus effect on union membership is being weighed. In states that passed right-to-work laws prior to Janus, it took several years for public employees like teachers to realize they could resign, and then decide to do so.
The case’s impact on union membership losses in Minnesota is still not fully known. After the Janus decision on June 27, 2018, Minnesota teachers could not immediately exercise their right to resign union membership from the state’s teachers’ union Education Minnesota. Bound by a resignation “window,” teachers were limited to opting out during a narrow, seven-day period at the end of September. Such windows are problematic to teachers’ ability to fully exercise their First Amendment rights and are being challenged across the country.
The Center’s EducatedTeachersMN project has written extensively about the burden resignation windows place on our state’s civil servants and their right to resign. We also sent out a letter to all 337 public school superintendents informing them they are not in compliance with the Janus decision because union member dues are being deducted without the clear and affirmative consent of the employee.
The good news is Education Minnesota is expanding its opt-out window. (The bad news is the window still exists.) We believe this is in response to our efforts and is a defensive move to avoid a legal judgment other public-sector unions are facing in Minnesota and elsewhere.
According to the June/July 2019 edition of the union’s publication Minnesota Educator, Education Minnesota has widened its September opt-out window from seven days to 30 days (Sept. 1-Sept. 30). The union also stated in writing that if teachers had not signed the renewal agreement cards union leaders circulated before Janus, they could resign at any time. In addition, Education Minnesota implied that teachers looking to revoke their membership can submit a resignation letter to the local union or Education Minnesota for processing.
Union membership is a personal decision, and exercising your rights is a good and admirable thing. If union membership is not the best choice for you, visit EducatedTeachersMN.com for help creating your resignation letter and detailed step-by-step instructions on how to submit your request. You can also sign up for our newsletter, and we will send you a reminder when it’s time to submit your union membership resignation letter. If you change your mind, you can hold the letter. It’s your choice.