Tucson school district facing legal challenge over union dues

Tucson, Arizona/ USA - March 14, 2018: Students at Tucson High Magnet School conduct a student walkout as part of the national #ENOUGH! walkout day. Jeffrey J Snyder / Shutterstock

Parker Jackson is hoping his words will be enough to get the Tucson Unified School District to do what he argues the law already establishes as the right thing.

“We think it is critically important for government employers to respect public employees’ constitutional rights,” Jackson, a staff attorney for the Arizona-based Goldwater Institute, told The Center Square after firing off a letter to TUSD where he demanded officials reconstitute unlawful policies now making it harder than he feels it needs to be for employees to leave a union.

“The Janus case decided by the Supreme Court in 2018 clearly establishes this as law,” he added. “Since that case was decided unions across the country have tried to find ways to get around it. The ruling says you can’t be forced to join a union as a condition of employment. Certainly, the unions have a financial incentive for putting these restrictions in, and in this instance, it’s particularly egregious because under it, the members have to get permission from the union to drop out. We think that’s totally unconstitutional.”

Representatives with the school district did not respond to a request for comment.

As part of his letter, Jackson highlights what he views as the major issues with the way the districts’ four separate labor organizations are now doing things.

“We are hopeful that the district will bring its collective bargaining agreements into compliance with federal and state law without the need for legal action,” he added. “The district needs to let the unions know these are unconstitutional practices, and they need to amend them.”

In addition to also being a violation of state law, Parker said the policies he is fighting to change within TUSD potentially have the reach to impact every union member in the district.

“Think about it; any number of reasons could arise for someone to want to leave a union,” he said. “We think that they could come to face the same kinds of issues is a big thing. The District needs to respect the rights of employees.”

 Jackson said what comes next strikes him as being completely up to district officials.

“We didn’t put any timeline in the letter we sent, but we’re hoping the district promptly responds,” he added. “Every day that passes is a day employees’ rights are being infringed upon.”

Republished with the permission of The Center Square.