Reisman v. AFUM

Facts of the Case | Timeline of the Case

Jon Reisman is an associate professor at the University of Maine at Machias, where he has taught since 1984. Not only is he a professor, but he previously proudly served as grievance officer for the Machias chapter of his union—the Associated Faculties of the Universities of Maine. 

“I enjoyed serving AFUM and my colleagues as the union grievance officer. However, I have since opted out of membership in my union because I could not get out of being associated with its state and national affiliates.” ~ Jon Reisman

As an educator and economics professor, Professor Reisman gives a great deal of thought to public policy choices, economic incentives, and how we educate our children. As with most people, Professor Reisman has strongly held views and opinions on a wide range of economic and social policies—including taxes, wage and price controls, and education. On many of those issues, he does not share the opinions of the state and national unions with which AFUM is affiliated—the Maine Education Association and the National Education Association.

“Those unions have taken the opposite view from me on each and every one of those public policy issues… These differences are not merely academic. They are not trivial pet peeves of mine. These are significant public policy preferences on which these unions and I remain very much at odds.” ~ Jon Reisman

Read Professor Reisman’s Piece in the Portland Press Herald

Given his convictions, Professor Reisman knew that the only path for him was to make the difficult decision to resign his position as grievance officer and end his membership in AFUM. However, under Maine law, the union continues to speak for him on countless issues, standing in as his exclusive representative. Only the union, of which Professor Reisman is not a member, may legally represent him before the university regarding his wages, hours, and the terms and conditions of his employment.

“The union represents me when it takes positions regarding the collective bargaining agreement that governs significant terms of my employment, such as workload, office hours, the grievance process, wages, benefits, retirement and leaves of absence – without consulting me on my views or opinions on such matters. The union represents me without my input or consent. And Maine law not only countenances that, but also requires it.” ~ Jon Reisman

After the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 27, 2018, ruling in Janus, Professor Reisman is not required to pay the union agency fees, but he is still required to accept the union’s unwanted representation, and he is forced to accept that the economic, political, and social views that the union champions in the public square are attributed to him through his union’s representation.

“Such requirements and ‘representation’ cannot be squared with basic and constitutional principles of fairness, freedom of speech and freedom of association. For these reasons, I asked The Buckeye Institute to assist me in filing suit to challenge these unconstitutional laws that allow public unions to speak on behalf of employees like me even as they deny us our own voices. Such laws and coercion do not provide representation, but misrepresentation – and it doesn’t take an advanced degree in economics to know the difference.” ~ Jon Reisman