Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. It’s “Fair Share” Union Dues Time Again

 

I’m a professor of physics and astronomy. Sadly, my university has a unionized faculty, which I have declined to join. As the precedent stands now, after Abood v. Detroit Board of Education (1977), the union still gets to charge me a fee every year for what they consider to be “collective bargaining” costs. By default, they will also charge me a fee for their politicking (that brings it to the full union membership cost), and if I don’t want to pay this, I have to “object in a timely manner,” and I have to do it each year. I can’t tell them that I permanently object.

There’s an annual mailing that tells me what the fees are and the deadline for objecting. They’ve played loose with this in the past. Many, many years, especially early on, they didn’t send me anything at all. We few non-union faculty had to email each other and see if anyone had found the deadline, the mailing address, and the fee amounts. One year, they mailed it a month late, and it arrived after the deadline they’d set up for my response. (To their credit, they did accept my objection that year.)

In this year’s packet, the date of the letter says January 9, and the postmark is January 10. In one place, the letter says I must reply within 30 days of the mailing date, and that is not the postmark, but the date inside the letter. In another place, it says the deadline is January 15, period.

One year, I forgot about the reply, thanks to a January conference, and mailed it one day late. They rejected it. That year, I also lost out on receiving the settlement for several years’ worth of illegally-collected fees they had to give up in a lawsuit. I’m guessing that putting an earlier “mailing date” in the letter than the postmark shows wouldn’t fly with them, but I should have tried it, just to make the point.

A case two years ago sought to overturn the 1977 precedent, but before a decision could be reached, Antonin Scalia died, leaving the court at 4-4 and the lower court’s decision (consistent with Abood) intact. This year, a similar case has been accepted for review by the Supreme Court, Janus v. AAFSCME, and with Gorsuch filling Scalia’s seat, I’m very hopeful that compulsory union fees will finally be brought to an end.

For entertainment’s sake, I’ll leave y’all with the text of my objection letter for this year:

Ohio Education Association
225 E. Broad St.
P.O. Box 2550
Columbus, OH 43216

Attn: “Fair Share” Fee Objection

As I always do, I hereby object to the payment of the Orwellian-named “fair share” fees to your blood-sucking organization. I will never join this leech on society, and I eagerly look forward to the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AAFSCME, where they’re likely to strike down your ability to extort even a single penny from me.

Furthermore, I am filing this objection in a timely manner, consistent with your Procedure to Object (p. 9), within 30 days of the stated date of the letter (January 9, 2018). This contradicts your statement in the OEA Advance Reduction Procedure, Sec. II C, which merely states a deadline of January 15. Since you have been neglectful in sending the package before January 15 in some years past, I must assume that you have not proofread your own document, and I am free to act in accordance with p. 9. If you treat this objection as “not timely,” I will take up the case with right-to-work legal organizations.

Very, very sincerely,
Timothy S. Hamilton

There are 21 comments.

  1. Dr. Bastiat Member

    Wonderful letter. Just wonderful.

    Standing up to a union, while surrounded by liberal groupthink co-workers, takes guts. I’m impressed.

    I wonder how many of your co-workers share your feelings on the matter but are reluctant to openly express them as you have? I’m guessing that would be a non-trivial number. What do you think?

    • #1
    • January 29, 2018, at 6:23 PM PST
    • 10 likes
  2. tigerlily Member

    It really is chickenbleep that the union makes those who object to their politics to have to go through the same process year after year to opt out.

    • #2
    • January 29, 2018, at 6:27 PM PST
    • 7 likes
  3. Concretevol Thatcher

    Wait…..there is a university faculty union???? I seriously had no idea! Sheeze

    • #3
    • January 29, 2018, at 6:56 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  4. VUtah Member

    My first tenure-track position was in New York State. The union worked under similar rules and I always declined to participate as much as I could. And the campus union leaders never could understand why. It was more than politics. My antipathy towards labor unions goes back a couple of generations when my paternal grandfather owned a cafe in Santa Monica and union representatives threatened him to force him to hire only union members.

    • #4
    • January 29, 2018, at 7:05 PM PST
    • 11 likes
  5. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Evil

    • #5
    • January 29, 2018, at 7:18 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  6. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    That is a delightful letter, Tim.

    • #6
    • January 29, 2018, at 7:26 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  7. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    That’s the old Democrat party, right? That’s who ruled the party before identity politics. From one type of mob to another.

    • #7
    • January 29, 2018, at 7:33 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  8. Tim H. Member
    Tim H.

    VUtah (View Comment):
    It was more than politics. My antipathy towards labor unions goes back a couple of generations when my paternal grandfather owned a cafe in Santa Monica and union representatives threatened him to force him to hire only union members.

    For me, it’s more than their politics, too. I don’t have any family experience with unions. But I’ve felt as a matter of principle that I won’t have a group running interference for me at work and being my intermediary. I believe that they make an organization sclerotic and unable to adapt and compete. Our school has enough trouble with a shrinking student population, but even if it were growing, I’d think a union was the wrong approach.

    • #8
    • January 29, 2018, at 8:08 PM PST
    • 9 likes
  9. Tim H. Member
    Tim H.

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):
    Wonderful letter. Just wonderful.

    Standing up to a union, while surrounded by liberal groupthink co-workers, takes guts. I’m impressed.

    I wonder how many of your co-workers share your feelings on the matter but are reluctant to openly express them as you have? I’m guessing that would be a non-trivial number. What do you think?

    Thanks, Bastiat! Well, I’m not that brave. I’m hoping my colleagues don’t see this. (No reason they would.) On the other hand, I have told one who was a local union official that I thought it was unprofessional for professors to belong to a union and that I was ashamed that we had one. Luckily, I still get along with her today. That could have gone badly.

    I do wonder how many others don’t want to belong to the union but figure they might as well, as long as they have to pay the dues. The one who was sent to recruit me into it said that was the reason he joined. It wasn’t a ringing endorsement. There are about a half-dozen to ten of us who aren’t members; I don’t know how many more wouldn’t join at all if they didn’t have to pay the dues.

    If the SCOTUS rules in “my” favor this spring, I think we just might find out. Think of Wisconsin, after the state stopped withholding union dues. Lots of people stopped paying them, didn’t they?

    • #9
    • January 29, 2018, at 8:34 PM PST
    • 16 likes
  10. KentForrester Moderator

    Tim, you’re a man’s man. You set an example for others.

    Kent

    • #10
    • January 30, 2018, at 1:04 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  11. Songwriter Member
    Songwriter Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I love a well-written letter! Wonderful.

    In an alternate universe, I can imagine the union leadership enjoys a great letter, too. And they have kept the “annual opt out” going just so they can continue to read Tim’s awesome letters.

    • #11
    • January 30, 2018, at 6:01 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  12. I. M. Fine Lincoln

    Great letter. Great post.

    By the way, the same thing happened to me. (My college faculty unionized.) I didn’t write a letter, however; I took early retirement.

    • #12
    • January 30, 2018, at 10:26 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  13. RufusRJones Member

    Tim H. (View Comment):
    Our school has enough trouble with a shrinking student population,

    I’m sure your union has value added to the consumer foremost on their agenda.

    • #13
    • January 30, 2018, at 4:07 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  14. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    It’s interesting that federal employee unions are prohibited from charging mandatory dues or fees to those who don’t wish to join, but many state and local employee unions are not. Federalism doesn’t always work.

    • #14
    • January 30, 2018, at 4:25 PM PST
    • 1 like
  15. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Bravo! ?

    • #15
    • January 30, 2018, at 4:35 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  16. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Awesome, dude! Tim, I’ve never had to belong to a union; I know my husband refused to join up when he worked at a power plant. If I worked somewhere with a union, I doubt I would have had the nerve to be as gloriously snarky and obnoxious as you were! Well done! And I’m serious!

    • #16
    • January 30, 2018, at 4:43 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  17. Cyrano Inactive

    The last I heard from my (mandatory) faculty union, they were organizing a tribute event for the late Fidel Castro, with our (mandatory) dues, of course. I was tempted to drop by to see if anyone showed up. Not sure what would have been worse: seeing no one there, or encountering a large crowd.

    • #17
    • January 30, 2018, at 9:09 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  18. Front Seat Cat Member

    I think you should tell them how you really feel…..kidding…my sister goes through the same thing as a state worker in MD. She has to pay a nominal fee but you can check a box that none of it is allowed to go for political purposes – good luck making sure of that…what a scam.

    • #18
    • January 31, 2018, at 7:01 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  19. Front Seat Cat Member

    Cyrano (View Comment):
    The last I heard from my (mandatory) faculty union, they were organizing a tribute event for the late Fidel Castro, with our (mandatory) dues, of course. I was tempted to drop by to see if anyone showed up. Not sure what would have been worse: seeing no one there, or encountering a large crowd.

    Wow!

    • #19
    • January 31, 2018, at 7:07 AM PST
    • Like
  20. KentForrester Moderator

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    Cyrano (View Comment):
    The last I heard from my (mandatory) faculty union, they were organizing a tribute event for the late Fidel Castro, with our (mandatory) dues, of course. I was tempted to drop by to see if anyone showed up. Not sure what would have been worse: seeing no one there, or encountering a large crowd.

    Wow!

    Like wow!

    • #20
    • January 31, 2018, at 8:24 AM PST
    • Like
  21. Tim H. Member
    Tim H.

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    Awesome, dude! Tim, I’ve never had to belong to a union; I know my husband refused to join up when he worked at a power plant. If I worked somewhere with a union, I doubt I would have had the nerve to be as gloriously snarky and obnoxious as you were! Well done! And I’m serious!

    Thanks. :) I’m not really that brave, though. This is, presumably, only going to be seen by a nameless clerk somehere at their HQ in Columbus, and not anybody here on campus who would know me. But I do get a little thrill out of doing it.

    • #21
    • February 3, 2018, at 10:35 AM PST
    • Like