After our staff meeting today, we teachers remained behind for a "union meeting." I'm not a union member, but I'm entitled to be at such meetings because I do pay for representation and am thus still a "bargaining unit member", or BUM =)
Our district is looking at changing our overall calendar--school start date, school end date, and vacation days. Our union rep gave us the four options being considered and asked for our input, so that he could take that input to the union, who would compile the "will of the teachers" and take that information to the district.
As we started to vote, one teacher called out, "Some people here aren't entitled to vote because they're not union members." That comment was stifled by the agitated mumbling of the group--but you've got to love that kind of mentality.
How can you represent me before the district if you don't find out how I want to be represented?
Sadly, though, I'm sure CTA would agree with her. This is exactly why union membership should be voluntary, exactly why so-called "fair share" agency fees are a farce, and why the legal requirement for the union to represent even non-members is un-American.
Update, 4/11/08: How could I post about this and not mention the California Teachers Empowerment Network? Teachers who encounter what I did will find that CTEN welcomes their voluntary association.
Update #2, 4/14/08: There's been a very positive resolution to this, one I've written about here.