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HARRISBURG (Jan. 19, 2017) - Jerry Oleksiak, president of the Pennsylvania State Education Association, today issued the following statement related to a new lawsuit filed by three Pennsylvania teachers who receive PSEA services and benefits as non-members, but who object to paying a fair share fee for those services.
The lawsuit, like those brought in other states and similar to one that ended in a 4-4 U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2016, alleges that charging non-members fair share fees for services unions are legally required to provide them is unconstitutional.
"This is another attempt to rewrite the law and use it as a political attack on unions and the people they represent," Oleksiak said.
"A fair share fee is a fee for services unions are legally required to provide non-members; nothing more, nothing less. We recognize that obligation, and we are diligent in providing those services. It's only fair in any walk of life to pay a fee for benefits you receive - and for benefits that unions like PSEA have no choice but to provide to non-members.
"This lawsuit is another attempt to undermine this basic fairness and make it harder for teachers, nurses, and other workers to do their jobs.
"The Fairness Center is an anti-union organization that is funding and organizing this lawsuit. It was created to intimidate and harass unions and working people, and to try to subvert one of the principal reasons that unions exist: to collectively stand up for working people and make sure they have a voice."
Oleksiak is a special education teacher in the Upper Merion Area School District. An affiliate of the National Education Association, PSEA represents approximately 180,000 future, active and retired teachers and school employees, and health care workers in Pennsylvania.