Saturday, June 23, 2018

Teacher disavows NJEA; sues to deny union 'representation' money from her paycheck

NJEA building at 180 W. State St. in Trenton, NJ

Filed in U.S. District Court in Camden, Ann Smith claims her constitutional rights are being violated by forcing her to pay 'representation fees' as a condition of her employment as a public school teacher -- "even though Ms. Smith refused to join the teachers' union and does not wish to subsidize the union's activities."
Smith is a special education staff member at the Clearview Middle School in Harrison Township, Gloucester County, according to the district's website.
The suit asks the court turn this into a class action suit allowing others in Smith's situation to join.
"She refused to join the NJEA or its affiliates because she disapproves of the union's political and ideological advocacy, as well as the excessively high salaries that are paid to the union's leaders," the suit says.
Along with the NJEA, the suit names as defendants the Clearview Education Association, National Education Association and Clearview Regional Board of Education along with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, state Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and others from the New Jersey Public Employment Relations Commission and the PERC Appeal Board.
According to the Trenton-based NJEA's website, full-time teachers pay the union $866 in dues. Information in the lawsuit showed Smith had some $700 taken from her pay for dues, with the bulk, $529, going to the NJEA and smaller amounts going to the national and local education unions.
All of these deductions are mandated by law with no opt-out ability.
Steven Baker, spokesman for the NJEA, called the suit "part of a well-funded national effort to undermine the rights of working people by attacking their unions."

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