The National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers and local allies such as the California Teachers Association are unions that teachers are required to join and support with dues in order to accept a job offer.
These are, in effect, government unions. That is, the teachers are employed by public school districts and soon protected by tenure from discharge.
The individual teachers may hate the union and all its works, but his or her paycheck is nicked each month in its support. The only exception is the cost of the union’s political activities, which is calculated and deducted for those who prefer. This exception was established by a decision of the Supreme Court four decades ago. It was deemed necessary to protect individual teachers’ speech rights under the First Amendment.
The accounting necessary is not so easy. The AFT used to give $200,000 each year to the United Farm Workers. In 1981, Cesar Chavez told me it kept him from supporting school vouchers. I wonder if Albert Shanker deducted this amount from the dues of resistant teachers. Continue Reading →