Teacher Wanted Her Union Dues to Go to Pro-Life Groups. Their Response Has Her Suing

National   |   Sarah Zagorski   |   Jun 30, 2015   |   2:00PM   |   Washington, DC

In Pennsylvania, a public school teacher is suing the state’s education association for preventing her from giving her mandated union dues to a pro-life organization. The teacher, Linda Misja, said the following about her lawsuit against the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA): “Plain and simple, it is my money that I worked hard for. I need my money to go to a charity in which I believe—one of my own choosing—not one a group tells me it has to go to. That, to me, is not freedom.”

In 2012, the PSEA was given the right to charge non-union members with “fair-share fees” since they benefit from contract negotiations. But thankfully, under state law, Linda isn’t required to pay those funds directly to the PSEA; rather, she has to pay the equivalent of that money to a charity both parties can agree on. The Pittsburgh Tribune Reports that Misja has been trying to find a middle ground on non-religious charities she can donate to but has been unsuccessful thus far.

Misja’s attorney, David Osborne from the Fairness Center, added, “Pennsylvania law allows Linda, a bona fide religious objector to unionism, to donate the equivalent of her union’s ‘fair share’ fee to a non-religious charity agreed upon by her and the union. But the union has held Linda’s money in lieu of union fees in escrow for more than three years rather than allow it to reach her chosen charity—a violation of her First Amendment right to free speech.”

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According to a press release from the Fairness Center, Misja is a language teacher at Apollo-Ridge High School and has two bachelor’s degrees, a master’s degree, and three Pennsylvania teaching certifications. Additionally, she is a PhD student at the Pennsylvania State University. Currently $2,000 in dues is being held in an escrow account in Misja’s name.

Misja concluded, “It’s been a worry for me that my money might be going to support causes that go against my deep personal beliefs. I was quite shocked. I had no idea that my choice would be turned down. I should have the freedom to put my money to a cause that I have a personal connection to and to a cause I believe in.”

Apparently the PSEA said the pro-life charity that Misja chose, People Concerned for the Unborn Child, doesn’t offer women every option regarding pregnancy. However, Misja believes they were rejected as an option for political reasons.