The Buckeye Institute Files First Major Post-Janus Labor Challenge in the United States Supreme Court

Dec 04, 2018

Columbus, OH – On Tuesday, The Buckeye Institute filed the first significant First Amendment labor-law challenge in the Supreme Court of the United States since the landmark June 27 decision in Janus v. AFSCME. The case, Uradnik v. Inter Faculty Organization, calls for an immediate end to laws that force public-sector employees to accept a union’s exclusive representation. Andrew M. Grossman, partner at BakerHostetler LLP in Washington, D.C., is counsel of record on the petition.

“After years of being forced to speak through a union that advocated against her interests, today Professor Uradnik spoke in her own voice, and asked the Supreme Court to protect her First Amendment rights,” said Robert Alt, president and chief executive officer of The Buckeye Institute and a lead attorney on the case. “In its landmark Janus decision, the U.S. Supreme Court raised the question many of us had asked, namely if it violates the First Amendment to compel financial support for union advocacy, how on earth can states require these same public employees to speak through unions that many of them choose not to join? In what could be another landmark case in labor law, The Buckeye Institute is extending the opportunity for the court to answer that question definitively.”

Kathy Uradnik’s case was filed on July 6 in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, with a preliminary injunction motion filed on July 31. The motion for preliminary injunction was denied on September 27, and The Buckeye Institute immediately filed its notice of appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. The Buckeye Institute requested that the Court of Appeals quickly deny its motion so the case could be appealed directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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 Janus, and the organization is representing Professor Kathy Uradnik in Minnesota, Professor Jonathan Reisman in Maine, and Jade Thompson in Ohio.

Kathy Uradnik (watch a video of her telling her own story below and read her piece in the St. Cloud Times) is a professor of political science at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. Her union—the Inter Faculty Organization (IFO)—created a system that discriminates against non-union faculty members by barring them from serving on any faculty search, service, or governance committee, and even bars them from joining the Faculty Senate. This second-class treatment of non-union faculty members impairs the ability of non-members to obtain tenure, to advance in their careers, and to participate in the academic life and governance of their institutions.

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Update 4/29/19: The Supreme Court of the United States announced it denied cert on the motion for preliminary injunction. The case will now be returned to the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota where it will be argued on the merits. See press release.