A federal judge will decide this week if she will temporarily block a new law aimed at teachers unions. The court heard arguments Tuesday morning on extra steps the state wants to add for teachers to pay union dues.
An attorney for unions told U.S. District Court Judge Sarah Evans Barker a state law passed in April – Senate Enrolled Act 251 – targets teachers unfairly. Unlike unions for other state employees, it makes teachers sign a form each year saying they know they don’t have to join a union. In discussion, Barker called the additional paperwork “onerous” to school districts and said the required language was “probably one-sided.”
But the state’s lawyer said automatic due deductions are a benefit, not a right. However, the judge said the wording of the new union due process didn't make it seem that way.
"This form is not a benefit," Barker said. "It's an admonition. It's a warning to the union that you better not cross the line."
However she noted the state's argument that if union members didn’t want to sign the paycheck deduction form, unions could collect dues in other ways.
Barker ended the hearing saying she would issue a decision before July 1 when the law would take effect.