A poll released Monday revealed 52 percent of teachers do not know they can leave their unions without paying a fee, though it is one year since the Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).
The survey, sponsored by the Teacher Freedom Project and conducted by YouGov, found over three in four teachers (77 percent) have not even heard of the Janus case. Nevertheless, 74 percent say union membership should be voluntary, and 84 percent agree teachers should be able to join or quit a union at any time.
The poll found significant misconceptions among teachers about which aspects of their employment have nothing to do with union membership and what the Janus case means in terms of membership in unions.
Of those teachers surveyed, only 22 percent have re-evaluated their union membership since the Janus decision, and only 1 percent said they have actually left a union as a result of evaluating the Janus decision.
The results of the poll indicate that a vast majority of teachers have not been contacted by their unions regarding the Janus decision. Of those teachers who participated in the survey, 82 percent said they did not think anyone from the union contacted them about the Supreme Court decision.
“Union leaders may claim their members have opted to renew after the Janus decision, but that is very misleading,” said Colin Sharkey, executive director of the Association of American Educators, which supports the Teacher Freedom Project. “In truth most teachers still do not know their rights and aren’t aware they can reconsider their union membership. Even if they do, it is still too difficult to exercise those rights and far too many teachers are misinformed about what happens after they leave the union.”
— Teacher Freedom (@TeacherFreedom) June 12, 2019
According to the poll, 83 percent of K-12 teachers do not fully understand their rights related to union membership.
Among the teachers who participated in the survey, 32 percent falsely believe that if they do not belong to a union, the negotiated contract no longer applies to them, and 18 percent of teachers falsely believe they will lose their health insurance benefits if they do not belong to the union.
Similarly, the survey found 23 percent of teachers falsely believe they will lose tenure if they do not belong to the union.
According to the poll, the total sample size was 1,003 U.S. teachers. Fieldwork was implemented between May 29 and June 9. The poll was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all U.S. teachers, aged 18 and over.