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 Ms. Misja, she objected to payment of the fees on religious grounds.
As a religious objector, Ms. Misja is entitled to certain legal protections, including the opportunity to redirect her money—otherwise owed to the union—to a charitable organization.
However, after Ms. Misja objected on religious grounds, the PSEA refused her first and second charity selections for wholly political reasons. In an effort to resolve the dispute, Ms. Misja requested arbitration with the PSEA. The PSEA rejected her request.
Ms. Misja first lodged her religious objection in 2012. She continues to teach, and her money continues to be taken out of her paycheck, only to sit in an interest-bearing escrow account. The PSEA continues to refuse to send Ms. Misja’s money to one of the charities she selected and insists that she send her money to an organization it approves, regardless of her personal beliefs. The PSEA continues to ignore Ms. Misja’s requests for an accounting of the escrowed funds.
Ms. Misja 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.