A public school teacher in Pennsylvania is suing the largest union in the state over the claim that she is being forbidden from donating mandated dues to pro-life and gun rights groups.
Linda Misja, a language teacher at Apollo-Ridge High School in Spring Church, Pennsylvania, filed a lawsuit against the Pennsylvania State Education Association earlier this month, claiming that her dues have been held up for three years in an escrow account amid ongoing debate.
Misja, a Catholic, has battled with officials to find a middle ground on nonreligious charities that the money can be donated to, leading her to finally file a federal lawsuit to address the matter, the Pittsburgh Tribune‑Review reported.
She pays a “fair share fee,” which is a sum teachers who are not part of the union pay due to the fact that they still benefit from contract negotiations despite not being members, according to the outlet.
The union secured the right to charge the fee back in 2012, setting the stage for a debate between Misja and the union, according to The Fairness Center, the group that is representing the teacher.
“It’s been a worry for me that my money might be going to support causes that go against my deep personal beliefs,” the veteran teacher told the Tribune‑Review.
The Pennsylvania State Education Association allows for non-members who file religious exemptions to designate their fair-share fee to non-religious causes that are agreed upon by both parties.
Misja filed that request in 2012, but the two charities that she suggested were reportedly rejected by the union; People Concerned for the Unborn Child, a pro-life group, and the National Rifle Association Foundation were both declined.