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This Teacher Has the Opportunity to Hit Police Unions Where It Hurts the Most
5/8/15 | The Washington Post
Behind the Headline
Memo to Teachers’ Unions: Now Might Be a Good Time to Start Panicking
2/25/15 | Education Next blog
A case that the Supreme Court might decide to hear this fall could have a huge impact on the power of teachers unions… and also police unions. In Friedrichs vs. California Teachers Association, teachers are objecting to the mandatory dues that they must pay to the state’s teachers union. Their petition to the Supreme Court argues that the dues amount to “compelled subsidization” of a union’s “public advocacy” which a teacher may not necessarily support.
In an op-ed in the Washington Post, Charles Lane notes that if the Supreme Court takes the case and strikes down mandatory dues for public sector union members, this could affect police unions as well as teachers unions. And Lane points out that eliminating mandatory dues payments to police unions could impact criminal justice reform.
Among the factors that contribute to police impunity, where it exists, the political power of police unions belongs near the top of the list. Police unions have lobbied fiercely against civilian review boards and other reforms aimed at curbing alleged brutality; they demand elaborate procedural protections for officers accused of abuse.
Remember the post-Ferguson campaign to reduce “police militarization”? Police unions opposed it. As for “mass incarceration,” among the staunchest supporters of draconian sentencing laws have been correctional officers’ unions, for whom full prisons mean full employment.
For more on the Friedrichs vs. California Teachers Association case and court rulings on mandatory public sector union dues see “Memo to Teachers’ Unions: Now Might Be a Good Time to Start Panicking,” by Josh Dunn.