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Judge Blocks Law Aimed at Teachers Unions

The law creates a three-step yearly certification process for Indiana teachers to pay union dues

Brian Young's picture
Jul 01, 2021

A judge has blocked a new Indiana law that would have required teachers' unions to recertify every year that their members approved of paying union dues through automatic deductions.

In the ruling, U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker said that the law violated educators' free speech rights and that it ‘substantially impairs’ existing contracts between school corporations and their teacher's unions that allow for dues to be withdrawn from teachers' paychecks.

According to the AP, Judge Barker went on to say that the Republican Attorney General Todd Rokita was not able to adequately justify the new process. Under state law unions would be forced to do a three-step process for collection of dues which includes requiring districts to send an email to all employees who are paying union dues through automatic deductions a message in 14 point font and bolded saying that they have the right to not join the union and stop paycheck deduction at any time.

The law was supposed to take effect on July 1, but this injunction will now stop the state from enforcing the law.

The lawsuit was brought by three teachers' unions who said the bill creates an onerous new process for collecting dues that unfairly targets teachers. Unlike recertification rules in other states, teachers would not just be able to sign a form. Instead, teachers would have to sign a letter from the attorney general stating that they want to continue to have their dues deducted. They would then submit the letter to the district and then central office staff would be required to email each teacher to confirm receipt of the letter and to confirm that they want to continue to pay dues. Teachers would then need to reply back to the email, reaffirming their wish to have their dues deducted. This would need to happen every year.

Jeff Macey, the attorney representing the teachers and their unions, noted that no other union or organization that allows for wage deduction is required to follow this onerous standard.

"Why are teachers being singled out for these onerous restrictions?" Macey said. "No other union, no other charity, no other organization in the state has to do this to assign a portion of your wages to (them)."

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