Janus opens door to lawsuit against exclusive faculty union

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s Janus decision, a professor is suing St. Cloud State University for discriminating against professors who do not belong to the exclusive faculty union.

Kathleen Uradnik, a political science professor at St. Cloud, believes her First Amendment rights were violated due to her forced representation by a union she does not support. Although Uradnik is not a member of the Inter Faculty Organization (IFO), the university designates that union as faculty members’ “exclusive representative,” according to the lawsuit. 

The lawsuit names St. Cloud, the IFO, and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees as defendants, asking the court to invalidate the union’s exclusive status and bar the defendants from “discriminating against non-members of the Union.”

[RELATED: Liberal profs livid over ‘Janus’ ruling]

The lawsuit alleges that this forced representation not only deprives Uradnik and others like her of the right to petition the government on their own behalf, but also compels them to accept a contract that gives “special preferences” to union members that “tilt the scales in union members’ favor in such matters as tenure and promotion decisions.”

For instance, the IFO has the exclusive right to appoint faculty members to “System-level committees,” which oversee things like tenure, workload expectations for faculty, establishing endowed chairs, awarding funds for professional improvement, establishing departments and department chairs, and more.

“This system unlawfully allocates state-granted benefits and state-imposed burdens on the basis of political association,” the lawsuit contends. “That scheme, too, violates the First Amendment.”

[RELATED: Union prez asks profs to cancel class for May Day]

Uradnik is being represented by the Buckeye Institute, a non-partisan research and education organization that advocates in favor of the free-market.

“The Janus [Supreme Court of the United States] decision was an important victory for hardworking public servants across the country, but many of these same employees are still forced to accept their union’s representation that they didn’t ask for and do not want,” Robert Alt, chief executive officer and president of the Buckeye Institute, stated in a press re

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