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Press Release



April 28, 2021
Contact: Christina Mazzanti

AAE Commends Indiana for Protecting Educators’ Right to Determine Workplace Representation


Mission Viejo, CA – The Association of American Educators (AAE), a national non-union, professional association serving educators in all fifty states, commends the Indiana General Assembly and Governor Eric Holcomb for protecting Indiana educators’ right to determine their own workplace representation at any time by signing Senate Bill 251 into law.


“This law brings the nation one step closer to ensuring all educators are able to exercise the First Amendment right to proactively determine association membership, a right protected by Janus v. AFSCME,” stated AAE Executive Director Colin Sharkey. “Association membership should always be active, informed, and voluntary. AAE respects our educators’ autonomy and ability to make decisions about workplace representation at any time. This law ensures all teachers in Indiana have this right, which empowers our educators and makes associations more responsive to their professional needs.”


In 2018, the Supreme Court ruled in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) that public employees cannot be required to join a union or pay union dues as a condition of employment. However, teachers unions in Indiana and across the country still limit the period in which teachers can opt out if they decide they would no longer like to be a part of the union. These opt out windows make it extremely difficult for educators to exercise their First Amendment right to join or end association membership. Recent survey data shows that almost 85 percent of teachers believe they should be able to join or leave a union at any time.


The Indiana law allows a school employee to opt out of school association membership and dues at any time and would require them to annually renew the authorization that allows the union to take dues directly from their paycheck. Prior to this law being passed, that authorization would never expire.


Importantly, this law does not interfere with an educator’s voluntary membership in a union, which AAE believes is just as much the right of each educator as their right to end membership. It would simply allow educators to exercise the right to act on their decision to end association representation when they wish, a right protected by Janus v. AFSCME.


“Educators are highly trained professionals who deserve the ability to decide whether their needs are best met by union representation or representation from an alternative association.” added Sharkey, “Instead of limiting when they can make changes to association membership to a few arbitrary weeks out of the year, we encourage all states to follow Indiana’s example and acknowledge the ability and the right of teachers to act on these decisions at any time.”


The Association of American Educators (AAE) is the largest national, nonunion, professional educator organization, advancing the profession by offering a modern approach to educator empowerment and advocacy—promoting professionalism, collaboration, and excellence without a partisan agenda. AAE is committed to a teaching profession that is student oriented, well respected, and personally fulfilling. AAE serves members in all fifty states and welcomes professionals from all education entities. Membership is $16.50 per month and includes $2 million professional liability insurance, employment rights coverage, professional resources, and many other benefits. Classroom teachers, paraprofessionals, administrators, student teachers, university professors, and supporters can learn more at