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CUNY Professors Challenge Union in Antisemitism Case

The legal battle involving a group of City University of New York professors against their teachers’ union has garnered significant attention. Accusing the union of promoting antisemitism, the professors’ case hinges on complex legal and ethical issues.

CUNY Professors Sue Union

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Six City University of New York professors are suing their teachers’ union. They claim the union promotes antisemitism, sparking a significant legal confrontation.

Union’s Controversial Resolution

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The dispute originated from the union’s adoption of a resolution supporting Palestinian people. The professors view this as inherently antisemitic and anti-Israel.

Forced Union Affiliation

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Despite resigning from the union, state law requires the professors to remain in the collective bargaining unit. This union controls crucial aspects like pay and benefits.

Professor Goldstein’s Statement

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Professor Avraham Goldstein shared his history of facing antisemitism in the Soviet Union. He feels compelled to associate with a union that makes political statements against his will.

First Amendment Rights

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The 2018 Supreme Court Janus v. AFSCME case is central to this dispute. It ruled that nonmember public employees can’t be forced to pay union fees, highlighting First Amendment concerns.

Taylor Law Amendments

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Following the Janus decision, New York modified the Taylor Law. This reduced the obligations unions have towards nonmembers, affecting the professors’ situation.

Fair Representation Issues

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The Fairness Center claims that these Taylor Law amendments allow unions to treat nonmembers unequally. This is seen as detrimental to nonmember employees like these professors.

Legal Argument

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The lawsuit claims that forced inclusion in the bargaining unit disadvantages the professors. It’s seen as a violation of their employment terms and First Amendment rights.

First and 14th Amendment Claims

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The professors argue that their situation violates their First and 14th Amendment rights. This includes the forced financial support of the union’s speech.

Potential Supreme Court Appeal

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If the appellate court’s decision is unfavorable, the professors plan to appeal to the Supreme Court. They see this as their only hope for a favorable outcome.

Professor Lax’s Viewpoint

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Professor Jeffrey Lax emphasizes that the issue isn’t just about differing views. He highlights the forced inclusion in a bargaining unit that doesn’t represent their interests.

Antisemitic Undertones

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Lax connects the union’s actions to a broader increase in antisemitism on campuses. He criticizes the unions for political activism instead of focusing on employee welfare.

Union’s Response to Lawsuit

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Responding to the lawsuit, the PSC called it meritless. They assert their role in representing every worker, emphasizing the collective power of the union.

Central Resolution in Dispute

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The union’s 2021 resolution condemned Israel’s actions against Palestinians. This has been a key point of contention in the lawsuit.

The Core of the Case

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Professor Lax clarifies that the case is about more than just disagreeing with the union. It’s about being forced into a bargaining unit that overlooks pervasive antisemitism.

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