‘After years of being forced to speak through a union that advocated against her interests, today Professor Uradnik spoke in her own voice…’
(Lionel Parrott, Liberty Headlines) A professor at Minnesota’s St. Cloud State University has filed what attorneys with a right-to-work watchdog hopes will be the first major test of a Supreme Court decision that protects public-sector employees from compulsory union fees.
Kathy Uradnik, a political science professor at public St. Cloud State, says she was required to either join the Inter Faculty Organization union or be barred from serving on a number of faculty committees, which would be a serious impediment for any academic seeking career advancement.
Not surprisingly, it was not a decision she thought should be forced on her.
In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Janus v. AFSCME that it was unconstitutional to force nonunion workers to pay fees to public sector unions.
The Buckeye Institute, which is representing the plaintiff in Uradnik v. Inter Faculty Organization, said in a press release it hopes the court will strike down all laws forcing public sector employees to be exclusively represented by a union, whether fees are involved or not.
“After years of being forced to speak through a union that advocated against her interests, today Professor Uradnik spoke in her own voice, and asked the Supreme Court to protect her First Amendment rights,” said Robert Alt, president and CEO of the Buckeye Institute.
Alt continued: “In its landmark Janus decision, the U.S. Supreme Court raised the question many of us had asked, namely if it violates the First Amendment to compel financial support for union advocacy, how on earth can states require these same public employees to speak through unions that many of them choose not to join?”
When the Supreme Court issued the landmark Janus decision on June 27, the Buckeye Institute acted quickly, filing Uradnik’s case less than two weeks later in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota.
The Institute also sought a preliminary injunction, which the court denied.
Afterward, the organization immediately filed an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals—at the same time, requesting that their appeal be denied so it would go directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Should the highest court in the land decide to hear the case—and render the verdict Uradnik and the Buckeye Institute desire—it would mean yet another serious blow to labor unions and a major step forward for freedom of association.
Uradnik is just one of several clients the Buckeye Institute is handling in its fight to end what they call “compelled exclusive representation.”