Recapping Significance of Supreme Court Janus Decision in 2018

Inspired by Mike Antonucci’s “Top 10 Most Memorable Teacher Union Quotes of 2018,” I wanted to share some memorable quotes from teachers and others who voiced support of the Janus v. AFSCME case decided in June 2018 while teachers’ unions spoke out against it. Millions of Americans believe the Court’s decision is a gift to all public employees and a restoration of their rights.

“My testimony [in support of Janus] has nothing to do with the elimination of unions. I support Janus because I want the freedom of choice of paying union dues. Employees deserve this choice. This ruling could actually force unions to provide real value for their services. Unions would need to prove their worth and listen to their members’ concerns. How could that possibly be a bad thing for any worker?”

—Aaron Benner, teacher and dean of students
(February 26, On the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court building during the oral argument in Janus v. AFSCME)

“Thanks to Janus v. AFSCME, my teachers don’t have to give money to a union that doesn’t speak for them. From my experience as a high school student seeing teachers work firsthand, I see every day why teachers deserve this basic freedom of choice. Individual teachers know what is best for themselves and their students—not union leaders or the politicians they help elect and negotiate with. From my viewpoint, teachers work best when they have the freedom to work alongside their students and help guide them to success.”

—Avery Klatsky, high school senior
(June 27, Washington Examiner)

“While people scream from the rooftops about how wrong and unfair the Janus ruling is, let’s pause for a moment and at least acknowledge that, in the context of the teachers’ unions, almost no one is even talking about what’s best for kids in any of their passion filled proclamations about the destruction of the middle class. And if the well-being of children—who are mandated by law to attend school—isn’t front and center, I don’t want to hear the wailing.”

—Erika Sanzi, former teacher and union member
(June 28, EdExcellence)

“This [the Janus decision] is a great day for education—for children, for families, for the teaching profession. We’re finally free; free to stand together, empower our profession and uplift our schools. Educators have been given a gift—the freedom to reject state and national unions. I hope teachers will opt out in large number…and reorganize into local only associations. That would lead to real education reform.”

—Rebecca Friedrichs, teacher
(July 2, Choice Media)

Janus is a big step forward for freedom of speech. It gives teachers like me the opportunity to make choices that are best for us, our families, and our students. Taking the time to make good choices gives educators the chance to make their voices heard and tell the union to focus on what teachers need in the classroom, not politics.”

—Linda Hoekman, high school science teacher
(July 3, Interview with EducatedTeachersMN)

“I’m not anti-union and neither was my case [Janus v. AFSCME]. I don’t begrudge anyone who wants to form a union, or be part of a union. But what was unfair and unconstitutional is forcing me—and millions of other American workers—to pay to advance policies we oppose just so we could serve our communities and our state. The Supreme Court was right to end this practice—and I am honored to spend the next part of my career working to defend workers’ rights…”

—Mark Janus, plaintiff in Janus v. AFSCME
(July, Stand With Workers)