Monday, February 05, 2007

Local Illinois Teachers Union Decertifies State and National Unions, Goes Solo

I've recommended this for years, primarily because I'm disgusted with paying just shy of $1,000 per year in union dues. Even when I get my agency fee payer rebate, I'm still paying more in union dues than my Teamsters-affiliated railroad machinist father ever paid in union dues. I've even suggested how local unions can get better representation, and better contracts from the district, by going it alone as opposed to sticking with the state and national unions, but this isn't the post to rehash those suggestions (although I might in the comments, if the subject comes up).

Here's the story of the local union in Illinois which became an "independent" despite threats and harassment from the state union.

The vote came after the members of CEA determined that they were no longer happy with the representation and services they were receiving from IEA. After an initial vote in November, the teachers in the local association were subsequently harassed by the IEA, being told falsely that they would lose their current contracts if they were to decertify.

"We really felt that the IEA and the NEA were not organizations out to represent the best interests of teachers," said Debra Goins, President of the CEA and a teacher at Century Elementary School. "We all felt we should have the right to choose to affiliate or not, without being harassed, bullied, lied to and intimidated."

How good can an organization be, if it can keep members only by intimidation and harassment?


Ryan said...

Harassment and intimidation are loaded words. Whether it happened or not would probably be a subject of debate.

We had a local decertify up here in Washington (source here) two years ago, but it was one of the smallest in the region (15 teachers total). There was some suggestion at the time that many of the other small locals would fall like dominoes, but it hasn't happened.

And I'd be curious to hear your reasoning as to why a local could get a better if they weren't affiliated with the state and national associations. There's considerable evidence in Washington to support the idea that teachers get better contracts when they have Uniserv members at the bargaining table.

Darren said...

Uniserv "members" who are also teachers. They will be outclassed by the district people every time. Most of the time they'll sell out newer teachers to benefit themselves, too.

No, I'd rather have dispassionate attorneys fight for me rather an elementary teacher. And the larger the local (mine has about 2000 members), the more you could spend on a good law firm.

Darren said...

Ryan, I just noticed that you are an elementary teacher. Please know that my comment above was not intended as a slam on you personally; rather, it was to highlight the mismatch between what Uniserve "members" can do vs. the beancounters and lawyers the district can use for negotiators.

Ryan said...

No insult taken, but perhaps things are different in California. Here when I talk about the Uniserv staff I'm talking about your die-hard union hacks who have moved out of the classroom and do nothing but contracts all day long.

Your thought about purchasing power is a strong one. I pay out $60 a month in union dues, only $5 of which goes to my local. If that money stayed local our association would have better than $100,000 a year. Even if we cut the dues in half, we'd still have more than enough.

Darren said...

I pay over $95/month. You can see why I advocate the course I do.

Anonymous said...

I was researching disaffiliation on the web and came across your article. My local of Educ. Support Professionals is an affiliate of NEA-Alaska. We are currently being intimidated, harassed, bullied and lied to simply because we are trying to govern ourselves. NEA-AK has completely taken over governance of our association by manipulating a 1-2% minority of our association into doing their bidding. They achieve this because they completely control our President who disregards our Constitution and By-laws. We desparately seek to disaffiliate ourselves from these bullies. Can you give us any suggestions?

Darren said...

I'm not an expert in this field at all. I have to believe, though, that if the union isn't following its own rules, that there's a state agency to report them to.

Or you can become an agency fee payer instead of a union member--assuming Alaska isn't a "right to work" state in the first place.

I wish you good luck. Let me know how things go.