The Janus Decision and Teacher Union Strikes

Whether nonunion teachers join in the strike or not, it is a teacher union official who calls a strike.

Bradley D. Marianno and Katharine O. Strunk discuss strikes as a way for teacher union officials after the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation –won Janus decision in June, 2018.

Ever since the Supreme Court ruled in Janus v. AFSCME in 2018 that workers are free to choose whether to join a union, we’d argue that the teacher strikes have been as much a fight for the soul of the union as they are for the soul of public education. What the teachers’ unions really want and need is membership. As one political science professor told The New York Times: “Members and money are power in politics.”

The deals that teachers’ unions negotiate with school districts matter more than ever for maintaining their membership and political power in the post-Janus world. As education policy scholars who have studied teachers’ unions and teacher collective bargaining for over a decade, we have read thousands of agreements like the ones just negotiated in Los Angeles, Denver and Oakland.