(The Center Square) – An attorney who successfully argued public employees cannot be required to pay union dues or fees has joined an Ohio lawsuit involving a high school Spanish teacher who does not want union representation for bargaining.
The Buckeye Institute, an independent research and education group based in Columbus, filed suit for Marietta teacher Jade Thompson, who did not want to join a union but said it was a requirement in the state.
The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals rejected her challenge in August. The institute filed its petition for certiorari in late January with the U.S. Supreme Court.
William Messenger, a veteran staff attorney for the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court, urging it to take up Thompson’s case. He argued designating an organization to speak for an individual without their consent violates their First Amendment rights.
Messenger argued the 2018 Janus vs. AFSCME case that said teachers and other public employees cannot be required to pay dues or fees to unions with which they disagree. The foundation said teachers are still forced by Ohio law to accept union representatives.
“Forcing individuals to accept union boss representation against their will is at the core of all of ‘Big Labor’s’ coercive powers,” National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation President Mark Mix said in a news release. “The Supreme Court should take up Mrs. Thompson’s case and acknowledge that government-appointed representation is compatible with neither First Amendment freedom of association nor its own ruling in Janus.”
Thompson said in a video the Ohio Education Association targeted her husband with negative flyers during his race for the Ohio House of Representatives. She realized, she said in the video, as a union member, she was funding the ads against her husband.
“I don’t speak for every teacher. I just think we ought to have a choice, and it ought to be competitive, and for it not have to do with politics,” Thompson said in the video. “Give a teacher a choice to vote.”