NYC profs: Supreme Court docket our ‘solely hope’ in battle with ‘antisemitic’ labor union


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A bunch of Metropolis College of New York (CUNY) professors are suing a lecturers union they are saying promotes antisemitism, waging a authorized battle during which they consider the Supreme Court docket might be their “solely hope.”

New York State regulation requires that even when one chooses to go away a lecturers union, they nonetheless have to participate in funding the union’s collective bargaining unit. That unit successfully controls pay raises, advantages, depart and different insurance policies each for union and nonunion school.

In 2021, one such lecturers union, Skilled Workers Congress/CUNY (PSC), adopted a “Decision in Assist of the Palestinian Individuals” which the group of six professors considered as antisemitic, anti-Jewish and anti-Israel. These professors selected to then resign from the union, however beneath state regulation are nonetheless required to affiliate with and be represented in bargaining by that very same union. 

“My household and I suffered extreme anti-Semitic harassment and persecution by the hands of the Soviet Union for over fifteen years,” professor of arithmetic Avraham Goldstein mentioned in a press release. “I hoped it was all in my previous. However now I’m compelled to affiliate with a union that makes anti-Semitic political statements in my identify with out my permission or consent.” 


Prof. Avraham Goldstein sitting on park bench

CUNY Professor Avraham Goldstein is one among six professors difficult New York’s regulation that forces him to be represented by a union. (Credit score: The Equity Middle)

The Supreme Court docket in 2018 issued a call in a case referred to as Janus v. AFSCMEwhich mentioned nonmember public workers couldn’t be compelled to pay charges to a union, as doing so would violate their First Modification rights.

However proper earlier than the excessive courtroom determined Janus, New York amended what’s referred to as the Taylor Regulation – the regulation governing public-sector collective bargaining within the state – to cut back the duties public-sector unions owed to nonmembers. 

Previous to the Taylor regulation, unions had been required to pretty characterize each members and nonmembers. 

The Equity Middle, a nonprofit public curiosity regulation agency representing the professors, says that with amendments to the Taylor Regulation, “unions just like the PSC are free to deal with nonmembers, like these professors, as second-class workers, providing them inferior providers in comparison with members.”

“Plaintiffs’ compelled inclusion of their bargaining unit does a disservice to them and causes them to be deprived of their phrases and circumstances of employment and of their relations with their fellow workers and most of the people,” the professors’ temporary states. 

The professors, all however one among whom are Jewish, are suing the union, the college and town, citing the First and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Structure. 

“[T]he ongoing deprivation of rights… attributable to state statutes and Defendants’ contracts, insurance policies, and practices that designate PSC as Plaintiffs’ unique bargaining consultant with their Employer, power Plaintiffs into an outlined bargaining unit with others who don’t share the identical pursuits, and require some Plaintiffs to proceed to financially subsidize PSC’s speech though they’ve resigned their membership within the union,” the authorized submitting reads. 


Protester trample on Israel flag in street

A protester stomps on an Israeli flag throughout a pro-Palestinian demonstration in Midtown Manhattan on Nov. 2, 2023, exterior the CUNY chancellor’s workplace. (Julia Bonavita/Fox Information Digital)

“PSC’s designation as unique bargaining consultant and Plaintiffs’ obligatory inclusion in a bargaining unit violate Plaintiffs’ speech, petitioning, and associational rights beneath the First Modification,” it continues. 

The case was filed in a district courtroom in 2022. In November of final yr, the Second Circuit Court docket of Appeals heard oral arguments within the case, and is predicted to subject an opinion within the coming weeks. If it doesn’t go their method, the professors say they are going to enchantment their case to the Supreme Court docket. 

“I feel our solely hope is the U.S. Supreme Court docket,” Professor Jeffrey Lax informed Fox Information Digital in an interview.

“And my message can be to the Supreme Court docket… we’re not simply making an attempt to take a place that’s totally different than the union’s. We’re not simply saying that the union’s views in the direction of Jewish individuals are abhorrent to us. That’s not why we’re saying we wish to depart this union,” mentioned Lax.

Lax, a descendant of Holocaust survivors, mentioned he believes the antisemitic underpinnings of the union are primarily based on Marxist teachings, to which members of the union subscribe. 


two CUNY professors in lawsuit, right, with attorneys representing them on left

The Equity Middle is representing six CUNY professors combating their lecturers union. (Credit score: The Equity Middle)

Lax mentioned he’s “not stunned” to see the uptick in antisemitic activism on faculty campuses following the devastating assaults in Israel on Oct. 7 carried out by Hamas terrorists, as a result of antisemitic ideology has been simmering on campuses for years. And he says the unions are partially in charge, selling anti-Israel demonstrations on campus.

“These unions have nearly limitless funds. They’re not utilizing it to cut price, they’re not utilizing it to assist their workers’ higher salaries or working circumstances… they’re doing it for political and ideological acquire and to indoctrinate college students.” Lax mentioned.

Returning a request for remark Friday, a spokesperson for the union informed Fox Information Digital in an emailed assertion that “[t]he Goldstein lawsuit is meritless.”

“It has been introduced by members of the CUNY school who are usually not members of the PSC and who’re funded by the anti-union Nationwide Proper to Work Authorized Basis in one other try to get rid of unions,” the assertion reads. “Representing each employee in a store is prime to a union’s energy. It’s what makes the employees’ energy collective and provides them the mixed energy to win higher pay and dealing circumstances.”

“The core query of the swimsuit has been answered,” the assertion added.

The decision on the heart of the swimsuit adopted by the union in 2021 termed “the continued subjection of Palestinians to the state-supported displacement, occupation, and use of deadly power by Israel,” and required chapter-level dialogue of potential help by PSC for the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions – or BDS – motion.


Lax mentioned that whereas “it’s true the union’s opinion about Jewish folks, and Zionism and Zionist Jews are abhorrent to us,” that’s not the principle crux of his case. 

“The principle factor is that by forcing us to be a part of the bargaining unit, they power us to permit them to cut price for our working circumstances, and so they don’t care concerning the pervasive antisemitism that we’re all seeing that’s occurring proper now at universities throughout the nation, and it’s the worst at my college,” he mentioned. 

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