More than 100,000 Ohio teachers who are members of their local unions could soon feel the impact of a U.S. Supreme Court decision Wednesday.
The 5-4 decision ends the practice of charging nonunion workers’ agency fees in union workplaces in the public sector. Those fees cover the cost of negotiating contracts or representing employees in grievances, services unions offer to all employees in the workplaces where they operate.
Without the fees, though, Ohio unions will have less money to cover the cost of their operations and some union representatives worry that will weaken their voice and hurt their ability to collectively bargain.
Ohio Federation of Teachers president Melissa Cropper says collective bargaining gives teachers a voice in negotiations that directly impact kids.
“They can negotiate things such as smaller class sizes, or they can be on leadership teams within schools that are making decisions about curriculum," Cropper says. "There’s just all kinds of day-to-day decisions that go into making sure we have the best learning environment for a student."
The union 15,000 members have been reminded of the value of their union this year as they watched teachers in West Virginia and Oklahoma go on strike, Cropper says.
The Supreme Court decision will impact more than just teachers’ unions, though. Some 685,000 Ohioans are represented by unions. Of those, 50,000 of them will no longer be required to pay agency fees.