Jane Ladley and Chris Meier v. Pennsylvania State Education Association
The Fairness Center represents schoolteachers Jane Ladley and Chris Meier, the targets of an illegal public union scheme to block nonunion employees from sending money to certain charities and to funnel money to the union’s favorite private charities.
Jane recently retired after teaching for 25 years, most recently in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Chris has taught AP Economics and AP History courses in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania for the last 10 years. Neither Jane nor Chris are members of the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA), and neither Jane nor Chris have paid a fee for its representation—which they do not want. But recently, the PSEA secured, in separate agreements with their respective school districts, the contractual authority to extract nonmember fees from teachers like Jane and Chris. Jane and Chris objected to payment of the fees on religious grounds.
As religious objectors to union membership and to payment of union fees, Jane and Chris are entitled to certain legal protections, including the opportunity to redirect their fee—otherwise owed to the union—to a charitable organization. For this purpose, both Jane and Chris selected IRS-approved charities. Under the law, their money is automatically withheld and deposited into a separate account while the PSEA processes the selection.
Now, the PSEA is telling Jane and Chris that it has a “policy” against allowing religious objectors to send their money to charities that they choose. According to the PSEA, Jane’s educational charity was too “political,” and Chris’s charity was a “conflict of interest” because it represented teachers in separate, unrelated lawsuits against the PSEA.
Unfortunately, the PSEA’s policy also takes advantage of a loophole in the law to ensure that Jane and Chris have no voice in this matter. The PSEA is content to watch Jane’s and Chris’s money automatically accrue in an interest-bearing escrow account while it waits for them to give in.
Jane and Chris are filing suit to expose the policy, to ask that the court declare the PSEA’s internal policy illegal, and to stop the PSEA from using the policy to indefinitely hold Jane’s and Chris’ money.