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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