Media reports indicate that the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers (MFT), St. Paul Federation of Educators (SPFE), and other associated unions have threatened to order a strike beginning Tuesday, March 8 if Minneapolis and St. Paul public school officials do not make various concessions demanded by union officials during bargaining talks.

MPS officials have welcomed educators to continue working during the strike.

This situation raises serious concerns for Minneapolis and St. Paul public educators who believe there is much to lose from a union boss-ordered strike and do not want their students to fall behind.

Employees have the legal right to rebuff union officials’ strike demands, but it is important for them to be fully informed before they do so.


The National Right to Work Foundation wants you to learn about your legal rights from independent sources. You should not rely on what self-interested union officials tell you.

For more than five decades, Foundation attorneys have worked in the courts and labor agencies to protect and expand individual employees’ rights in situations such as strikes. It is the nation’s premier organization exclusively dedicated to providing free legal assistance to employee victims of forced unionism abuses.

Employees of Minneapolis and St. Paul public schools should know they have the following rights:

  1. A union has no disciplinary power over nonmembers and cannot discipline them for crossing a picket line and working during a strike. If you are currently not a member of MFT, SPFE, or another union issuing a strike order, you have the right to go to work even if the union bosses call a strike.

  2. If you are currently a union member, you have the right to resign your union membership at will. Union officials can (and often do) levy large fines against union members who work during a strike. If you are currently a union member and want to work during a strike, you should seriously consider resigning your union membership at least one day BEFORE you return to work. That is the only way to avoid possible ruinous union fines and other discipline. To have the best legal defense possible against punitive fines that union officials may try to impose, you should give the union notice of your resignation BEFORE you cross the picket line so that when you return to work you are not a union member.

    The decisions whether to resign your union membership and/or cross the picket line are wholly yours. The Foundation is simply providing this information so that your decisions are informed. If you are a member and decide to resign your union membership, please follow this link.

    NOTE: Although not legally required, the best practice is to send your resignation letter to the union and employer by certified mail, return receipt requested, and save copies of your letters and return receipts to prove delivery. If you use regular mail or hand deliver a letter, make sure that you have a reliable witness to the mailing or delivery. In our experience, angry and dishonest union officials often pretend they did not actually receive resignations and initiate discipline against non-striking workers anyway.

  3. Because you are a public employee, you have a First Amendment right to cut off all dues deductions to MFT, SPFE, or any other union, pursuant to the 2018 Janus v. AFSCME US Supreme Court decision. You can send letters to union officials and school administrators revoking your dues deduction authorization; click here for a sample.

    If you encounter any difficulties exercising any of your rights discussed in this notice, including your right to work during a strike, or need advice about how to do so, you can contact the Foundation to request free legal aid here.