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For Immediate Release
September 26, 2006
Contact: Heather Reams
Association of American Educators Applauds U.S. Supreme Court Decision To Hear Case To Protect Teachers’ Liberties

(Alexandria, VA) – Today the Association of American Educators applauds the U.S. Supreme Court for agreeing to rule on a case that may give greater protection to teachers’ First Amendment rights against forced unionism. Washington vs. Washington Education Association raises the question of whether states can prohibit labor unions from using dues collected from non-union members for political activities without the consent of those members.

“A union’s political funds should come from voluntary, informed contributors,” said Mr. Tracey Bailey, 1993 National Teacher of the Year and Director of National Projects for the Association of American Educators. “No one should have to pay for someone else’s politics or for controversial issues that may go against one’s personal or political beliefs.”

Teacher unions already wield tremendous power. In nearly half the states, unions require hundreds of thousands of teachers to pay union dues or their equivalent representation fees as a condition of employment. Yet, union political spending is often at odds with the personal or professional views of many teacher union members.

“Like most organizations, unions can raise money for politics through voluntary political contributions. If that method falls short, they should not be allowed to make up the difference by using teachers’ mandatory collective bargaining dues without permission,” added Mr. Bailey.

This past June, the Attorney General of Washington State and a group of nonunion teachers filed petitions asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a decision by the Washington State Supreme Court on this issue. The state court threw out a law that reasonably required union officials to obtain permission from teachers before using their collective bargaining dues on politics. Remarkably, the state court said it would place “too heavy an administrative burden” upon the

The Association of American Educators is the largest national, non-union, professional educators’ association, offering an alternative to the partisan politics and non-educational agendas of the teacher labor unions. AAE does not get involved in political issues or social agendas that are outside the realm of education. AAE does not endorse, support or contribute to any political cause or candidacy. AAE has members in all 50 states.