Linda Misja v. Pennsylvania State Education Association
Schoolteacher Linda Misja has been a language teacher for more than 35 years. She has never been a member of the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA), and she has never paid a fee for its representation—which she does not want. In 2012, when the PSEA secured the contractual authority to extract nonmember fees from teachers like Linda, she objected to payment of the fees on religious grounds.
As a religious objector, Linda is entitled to certain legal protections, including the opportunity to redirect her money—otherwise owed to the union—to a charitable organization.
However, after Linda objected on religious grounds, the PSEA refused her first and second charity selections for wholly political reasons. In an effort to resolve the dispute, Linda requested arbitration with the PSEA. The PSEA rejected her request.
Now, over three years after she lodged her religious objection, Linda continues to teach, and her money continues to be deducted from her paycheck. But instead of going to a charity, Linda’s money goes into an interest-bearing escrow account maintained by the PSEA. The PSEA continues to refuse to send Linda’s money to one of the charities she selected and insists that she send her money to an organization it approves, regardless of Linda’s personal beliefs. The PSEA continues to ignore Linda’s requests for an accounting of the escrowed funds.
Linda is filing suit in federal court to expose the PSEA’s practice, to ask that the court declare the practice illegal, and to stop the PSEA from abusing the religious objection process.