In Thompson v. Marietta [OH] Education Ass’n, (6th Cir. No. 19-4217, 8/25/20), the court affirmed summary judgment for a teachers’ union and school board against Thompson’s claims that Ohio’s system of exclusive representation for teachers violated her free speech rights under the U.S. Supreme Court’s holding in Janus v. AFSCME, 138 S. Ct. 2448 (2018). Under Ohio law, a union becomes the exclusive bargaining representative for all public employees in a bargaining unit. Thompson disagreed with the union’s policies and was not a member of the union. She filed suit, arguing Ohio law violated her First Amendment rights. The Sixth Circuit affirmed summary judgment against her claims, joining other circuits in holding the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Minnesota State Board for Community Colleges v. Knight, 104 S.Ct. 1058 (1984) which survived the Janus decision, permits exclusive representatives to speak for all employees of the bargaining unit during collective bargaining. The court acknowledged that Knight conflicts with Janus but was not overruled by the Janus decision.
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