I've had this idea in my mind for several years now, one that involves significantly reducing my union dues while simultaneously increasing my local union's bargaining position with the district.
Too good to be true? Only if you're a CTA fan!
I could find out how much of my over $80/month in union dues goes to CTA and NEA, but I'd probably get angry knowing the exact amount. I do know, though, that it's well over half. The people who represent me the most and are closest to me--my local union--see very little of that $80. Of course, they aren't out fighting Governor Schwarzenegger's proposals, either. So here's my plan.
Take the current *local* union dues I pay and add $7. That amount would be my new union dues, and would be close to what my Teamster father (retired railroad machinist) paid in union dues after 40 years (see previous post for more details). My local union will get to keep the amount it currently gets so under my plan, it suffers no financial loss. The additional $7/month would go to retain the best labor law firm in the county. My union has over 2000 teachers/counselors/etc. as members, so that would be $14,000/month, or $140,000/year, as a retainer for the law firm. That should pay for some quality work.
As I see it, here are the benefits of this plan. We get adequate representation when negotiating with the district, rather than just having teacher/unionists do the negotiating. We stand a better chance of getting better contracts, since the district would be less likely to pull the wool over attorneys' eyes than over teachers' eyes. Members wouldn't required to support the political views of unions with which they disagree, as so many of us CTA/NEA members currently are. And lastly, members keep more of their own money.
Everyone wins! Except CTA, of course. Is that such a bad thing?