Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Opt Out

A Wisconsin teacher explains why he's opted out of his state teachers union here. Note that his article is posted at a news site whose motto is "Your Progressive Voice". I applaud them for their candor and for publishing his article.
If the teachers union is as wonderful as it claims, then it should have no problem attracting members, without the need to force teachers to join. How is this any different from any other professional organization that teachers, as professionals, may choose to join? It’s a question I have been pondering since I became a public teacher in Wisconsin.

For years, I have chosen not to be a member of the union. However, this is a choice that I didn’t exactly have before Gov. Scott Walker’s budget repair bill went into law. As a compulsory union state where teachers are required to pay union dues as a condition of employment, the most I could hope for was a “Fair Share” membership, where the union refunded me a small portion of the money that was taken from my paycheck that lawyers have deemed “un-chargeable.”

Every September, after lengthy, bureaucratic and unadvertised hurdles, I would file my certified letter to try to withdraw my union membership. Then, they would proceed to drag their feet in issuing me my small refund. I often wondered why this kind of burden would be put on an individual teacher like me. Shouldn’t it be up to the organization to convince people and sell its benefits to potential members afresh each year? Why should I have to move mountains each fall to break ties with this group that I don’t want to be a part of in the first place? Something seemed dreadfully wrong with that picture.

I long to have the same individual right in California that this teacher in "progressive" Wisconsin has.


Anonymous said...

I also would love that option. However, I also would like to decertify CTA, form another union, and charge members the $1-$5 per month that truly goes to collective bargaining. I just can't seem to get off the couch. :(

pseudotsuga said...

But...but...the Unions are wonderful! Look at all the cool stuff they did over history and all the great benefits that you get thanks to their determined and selfless service!
They are the Workers who drive the engine of America!
Mr Hoffa wants to speak to you...

Anonymous said...

I'm adamantly opposed to public sector unions because of the absolute and inherent conflict of interest; those paying the salaries and benefits (taxpayers) are not represented. The unions fund the politicians, who then give the unions whatever they demand.It's a corrupt relationship. Even in private sector unions, I am adamantly opposed to required union membership and the automatic deduction (by the employer) of the union dues from employees' salaries. If employees wish to join a union, they should be required to write the check themselves. Period. The unions would - do- go ballistic at that idea because membership might - probably would - drop like a rock. They would actually have to convince employees of the desirability of joining.