The Buckeye Institute Files Additional Post-Janus Labor Challenge with U.S. Supreme Court

Jan 02, 2020

Columbus, OH – The Buckeye Institute, which filed the first significant post-Janus First Amendment labor-law challenge in the Supreme Court of the United States, on Thursday announced its filing of an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court in Reisman v. Associated Faculties of the University of Maine (AFUM). The Buckeye Institute represents Professor Reisman, and has repeatedly called for an end to laws that force public-sector employees like him to accept compelled union representation—particularly when the person is not a member of said union.

“Professor Reisman is a hardworking public employee who has for many years been forced to associate with a union with which he disagrees and suffer it to speak for him,” said Robert Alt, president and chief executive officer of The Buckeye Institute and a lead attorney on the case. “If state law cannot compel public employees to financially support union advocacy—as the court ruled in Janus v. AFSCME—how can states require these same public employees to accept representation from unions that many of them have chosen not to join? These are serious questions about the constitutionality of exclusive representation—questions which the U.S. Supreme Court needs to address.”

“Despite resigning his union membership, Professor Reisman is required by Maine law be represented by a union with which he does not agree and of which he is not a member,” said Andrew M. Grossman, a partner at BakerHostetler LLP in Washington, D.C., and counsel of record on the Reisman v. AFUM petition. “Following the Court’s landmark Janus ruling, it is clear that these laws are unconstitutional, and we hope the Court will recognize them as such.”

Background on The Buckeye Institute’s Legal Cases and Plaintiffs:
The Buckeye Institute was the first organization in the country to file lawsuits calling on courts to end compelled exclusive representation following the Janus ruling, and the organization is representing Professor Jonathan Reisman in Maine, Professor Kathy Uradnik in Minnesota, and Jade Thompson in Ohio

Jonathan Reisman (watch a video of him telling his own story below and read his opinion piece in the Portland Press Herald), is an associate professor of economics and public policy at the University of Maine at Machias who served as the AFUM grievance officer for the Machias campus. Professor Reisman would have liked to remain a member of his local union, but if he did so, he would be forced to also support the respective state and national unions with which AFUM affiliates—the Maine Education Association and the National Education Association—unions which oppose his views on a wide range of political and public policy issues. As a result, he resigned his union membership. However, under Maine law, Reisman had no alternative but to continue to accept AFUM’s representation.

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