Tennessee Teachers' Union Drops Lawsuit Demanding Right To Deduct Fees From Paychecks

Getty Images
August 11, 2023

A Tennessee teachers' union moved to dismiss a lawsuit it filed challenging a new state law that bans the union from deducting association fees from teachers' paychecks.

The Tennessee Education Association, which represents more than 45,000 teachers, filed to dismiss the lawsuit after a three-judge panel denied the union's motion to temporarily block the law.

Following the union's voluntary offer to dismiss the suit, the court ordered it "dismissed without prejudice."

The law prohibits paycheck deductions and also bumps the minimum salary for a teacher to $50,000 by the 2026-2027 school year.

Before the union withdrew its suit, the court said the union's arguments were unlikely to succeed.

"We hold that the Plaintiffs are unlikely to succeed on the merits of either claim," the court said. "Plaintiffs have failed to show that the Act substantially impairs either set of contracts implicated by the change in the payroll deduction process."

The union originally argued that the law was unconstitutional.

"Sliding a payroll dues deduction ban in a bill to raise the minimum pay was a cynical attack on Tennessee teachers," Tennessee Education Association president Tanya Coats said in June. "The ban was mean-spirited, and the way it passed was unconstitutional."

The union has spent millions of dollars in political lobbying. J.C. Bowman, the executive director of a non-partisan teachers' association called Professional Educators of Tennessee, said the money mainly goes to the left.

"Teachers' unions consistently rank among the top spenders on politics," Bowman told the Tennessee Star. "Their goal is not improved public education, but rather power, money, and influence. Most of those dollars go to candidates on the left. It is easy to observe that teacher unions have donated millions to political campaigns, mostly going to Democratic candidates and committees."

Published under: teachers union