(The Center Square) – A legal notice issued to staff at Minneapolis Public Schools describes steps to follow if staff desires to return to work.
The notice from the National Right to Work Foundation provides guidance to MPS staff for the strike that began Tuesday.
The notice reminds educators of their First Amendment right, under the 2018 Janus v. AFSCME Supreme Court decision, to discontinue union dues payments. The Supreme Court decided union officials need public employees’ permission to deduct union dues or fees from the employees’ paychecks.
Unions cannot discipline nonmembers for working during a strike and union members can resign union membership, the notice said.
“Union officials can (and often do) levy large fines against union members who work during a strike,” the notice said. “If you are currently a union member and want to work during a strike, you should seriously consider resigning your union membership at least one day BEFORE you return to work. That is the only way to avoid possible ruinous union fines and other discipline. To have the best legal defense possible against punitive fines that union officials may try to impose, you should give the union notice of your resignation BEFORE you cross the picket line so that when you return to work you are not a union member.”
It is best if union members who are resigning send a letter by certified mail, with return receipt request, and save copies of letters and return receipts, to the union and employer, to document receipt, the notice said.
“If you use regular mail or hand deliver a letter, make sure that you have a reliable witness to the mailing or delivery,” the notice said. “In our experience, angry and dishonest union officials often pretend they did not actually receive resignations and initiate discipline against non-striking workers anyway.”
National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation President Mark Mix said in a Monday news release that educators should immediately contact the Foundation for free legal aid if they believe union officials are violating their legal rights.
The notice links to sample letters for union members to use to report their resignation or unwillingness to pay union dues.