Union in a Few Nutshells, #2

Teachers’ unions in a few more nutshells…

Nutshell E: Your Contract

That teacher contract doesn’t exactly give you a lot of freedom. In fact, it may be squeezing the life out of your autonomy as a teacher. Do you feel beginning teachers receive decent pay? Would you rather work with competent colleagues, rather than play “catch up” with a group of students who suffered under a low-performing, but tenured teacher? Did you know your contract may restrict how issues are handled in court?

Nutshell F: Trust Falls

“Don’t worry, we’ll catch you!” The union purports with legal protection. Most teachers haven’t had to fall back. Would they catch us if we did? Have they caught others? Most teachers across the nation give legal protection as their number one reason for being part of a union.  Too many teachers have found out too late that the union “legal services” are available only when and if the legal issue serves the unions’ purposes.

Nutshell G: Money Talks

We all use familiar expressions: “Put your money where your mouth is” and “Vote with your wallet.” When teachers pay the union, what are they saying?  Automatic payroll deduction of union dues have left the teachers’ unions with a veritable open cash box. Do any of us really check how much FICA is taken out each month? Neither do teachers check their dues each year, nor do they realize most of it is sent to the state and national affiliates. There, teachers’ money is used to support. . . whatever is on the union’s wish list. If teachers knew what’s being said on their behalf, the’d cut off the money flow, because it doesn’t speak their true hearts.

Nutshell H: Laryngitis

Teachers, is that what you meant to say?  Policymakers, politicians, educational reformers, and teachers’ unions usurp the actual voice of teachers. Teachers must gargle with some salt water and get in the debate. No one can say what teachers need as teachers themselves can. It’s past time teachers keep the educational ace-in-the-hole by ceasing to pay someone else to speak for them, or allow the stealing of their voice. The best chance for this is to keep educational decisions local, involving parents, students, and teachers alone.


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