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November 13, 2006

Contact: Heather Reams

Association of American Educators Files Amicus Brief with the U.S. Supreme Court Regarding Washington v. Washington Education Association

(Alexandria, VA) – Today the Association of American Educators filed a friend of the court brief with the U.S. Supreme Court regarding a controversial 1992 paycheck protection law ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of Washington State. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear the case on January 10, 2007.

At issue is whether states can prohibit labor unions from using dues collected from non-union members for political activities without the consent of those members.

In the brief, AAE argues that labor union officials do not have a First Amendment right to seize and use the wages of employees who have chosen not to become union members for political purposes.

“The First Amendment rights of a labor union have no place trumping the rights of an individual,” said Gary Beckner, executive director of the Association of American Educators. “We hope the U.S. Supreme Court agrees.”

As American citizens, teachers have the right to join or not to join the union by exercising their rights of freedom of speech and freedom of association. In Washington, however, public school employees must pay the teachers' union a workplace representation or “agency” fee whether they are members of the union or not. Some teachers pay over $1,000 a year to the union.

“Teachers rights need to be protected,” added Beckner. “AAE believes that the law passed in Washington was a reasonable measure to protect their rights and the ruling of the state court should be reversed.”

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.

Click Here to View Amicus Brief