My local union, which won't allow me to be a member because I refuse to be a member of the state and national unions as well, has what can only be described as among the stupidest ideas on the planet--the leadership is considering unionizing our district's substitute teachers. There's so much wrong with this proposal that I almost don't know where to start.
1. If subs become union members, they'll also have to be CTA/NEA members. Those fees are fixed, and I don't think there's a lower fee for subs. That means that subs, who make a whopping $100/day when they work, will pay a disproportionate amount of their salaries to a union.
2. Substitutes often register with several local districts, thereby increasing their chances of getting a job on any particular day. Making it more expensive to work in our district, which already is not the highest-paying in the area, will have the practical result of reducing the number of substitutes available to us.
3. The union says that by unionizing the substitutes, we can have a more "professional" sub cadre--because then we'd be able to provide more/better training for them. What training does the union need to provide? The quality, training, and qualifications of teachers is the responsibility of the school district, not the union. Even still, if the union thinks subs could be better, why not just provide training now? How would their membership in the union make them more trainable? Shouldn't the union's position be that the district should bring subs up to standard, if they are in fact substandard? ("Sub"standard--get it! Sometimes I slay myself.)
4. Is the union saying there's something wrong with the subs we currently have? "You suck--join our union" doesn't sound like the greatest rallying cry.
5. Here's a selfish reason. There's only so much money for salaries--it truly is a zero-sum game. Bargain for the subs and get more for them, that means I don't get as much.
If you can identify other reasons why this is a bad idea, please list them in the comments.
It's obvious that this isn't really an issue about sub competence, although oddly that's how it's being sold. It's clearly nothing more than an entrenched bureaucracy, the union, trying to grow itself. CTA did it by recently voting to allow non-teacher school workers to join CTA, no doubt ticking off the classified employees' California State Education Association.
I've said it before and I'll say it again--a union that gets my money against my will should at least focus on my pay, benefits, and working conditions. Taking that money and trying to unionize others--so it can be entitled to their money as well--doesn't sit well with me. And it shouldn't sit well with my fellow teachers, either.