• Teachers’ Unions: A Bad Deal for Professional Educators

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    Teachers’ unions are among the most radical and self-serving organizations in America today. Not teachers, mind you, but teachers’ unions. Having abandoned their historical preoccupation with salaries and benefits, teachers’ unions are now the primary force behind the unethical politicization of K-12 education. This includes nationwide efforts to indoctrinate schoolchildren in racist political theories, like CRT, sexualize children through gender grooming, defend biological men in women’s sports, and promote climate change extremism, all in violation of CT state regulations that provide that teachers must ”provide access to all points of view without deliberate distortion of subject matter.” Teachers’ unions are the next link in the tag team that begins with radicalized schools of education (see Lyell Asher’s “Why Colleges Are Becoming CULTS” on YouTube). So, now, having hitched their indoctrination wagon to the Democrat Party, they have no compunctions about molding innocent students into left wing activists to serve their political ends.

    On the financial front, the Connecticut Education Association (CEA) collects onerous dues from its members ($850 per year) yet pays salaries of over $100,000 to 43 of its 49 leaders and staff, including seven who are paid over $300,000 annually. So much for looking out for the rank and file.

    Fortunately, teachers can no longer be forced to join a teachers’ union and lend their support to activities that are hostile to their values. In fact, educators across Connecticut and the U.S. are opting in record numbers to leave their unions and join alternative, non-political teacher associations. These associations focus on professional development, exhibit discernment and restraint in the political realm, are far less expensive, and provide superior benefits. The Association of American Educators and Christian Educators welcome dedicated professionals with open arms. Constitution State Educators, a Connecticut-based Facebook page, stands ready to assist educators in making this career-enhancing move. The move will also save current union members $650 annually in dues which can be used to fund a personal IRA, which can grow into a tidy $75,000, or more, upon retirement.

    Janus Changes Everything

    Why is this happening? After 60 years of forced unionization of public employees, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2018 in the case of Janus v. AFSCME (138 S. Ct. 2448; 201 L. Ed. 2d 924) that government workers, including, but not limited to, teachers and other school employees, cannot be required to pay union dues or fees as a condition of working in public service. The right to say 'no' to a union is just as important as the right to say 'yes.’ This restores the freedom of association that has been denied to public employees since the creation of public employee unions in the 1950s. Teachers can no longer be forced to join a union, remain in a union, or pay dues or fees to a union if they choose not to.

    If you’re questioning your union’s commitment to you, you are not alone. Barely a third of Connecticut teachers in a recent survey said they agreed with the union’s spending priorities, and only a quarter thought their union dues were affordable. And many more object on principle to unions using their dues to fund political campaigns and causes against their wishes, a view which is echoed by 80% of union members nationally, both public and private.

    The National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) together represent the vast majority of teachers in the United States. Working through their national bodies and their state and local affiliates, these two unions have exercised a stranglehold over members who were forced to join as a condition of employment. Dues extractions from teachers’ paychecks vary from state to state, ranging from roughly $850 annually in Connecticut to $1,100 California.

    Roughly 80% of those union dues wind up in the coffers of their state and national unions, much of it used to support political candidates and causes favorable to union leadership which are invariably partisan Democrats. Local unions are left with about 20%, ostensibly to fund local collective bargaining efforts. Sadly, members cannot choose to belong only to their local union, but are forced to support the full range of their national and state unions’ preferred candidates and causes. It’s an ‘all or nothing’ arrangement. Who, you might ask, engineered this politically self-serving arrangement? Truth be known, it’s called the “herding the sheep principle.”

    The fact is the vast majority of teachers’ union dues is used to fund, overwhelmingly, Democrat candidates and causes favorable to the bosses who control the unions. And these causes have gotten increasing radical and ideologically strident in recent years, and for which students are the innocent pawns. This would also be wrong if Republicans were in charge. Yet, nationally, 80% of union members, both public and private, oppose the use of their dues to fund partisan or ideological political activities. Such decisions, and donations should be made on an individual basis. To do otherwise, treats teachers and other union members like children who must have their minds made up for them on the full range of political issues. Teachers, and all union members, are perfectly capable of making those decisions for themselves.

    Teachers’ unions, like public employee unions generally, have formed a symbiotic relationship with the party of Big Government, because a bigger government with taxing power is in a better position to fund union demands. And, at the local level, this arrangement gives public employees “the power, in a sense, to elect our own boss,” as Victor Gotbaum, former head of the New York City chapter of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), famously put it in an unguarded moment. To union leadership, taxpayers are simply an inconvenience to be marginalized. It’s no secret that union leaders are almost invariably Democrats, thereby giving them the power to control the candidates and causes favorable to the agenda of the leadership. Controlling school board elections and marginalizing taxpayers is a critical part of that agenda.

    Teachers’ unions advance five Big Lies to keep their members on the union plantation now that Janus is the law of the land and union members have been emancipated. Contrary to union propaganda:

    1. You don’t have to join a union or remain one if you already belong.
    2. You don’t have to pay them a dime in either dues or fees.
    3. You are still covered by the terms of the union contract.
    4. Unions are still obliged to represent you in all contractual matters, including grievances.
    5. You have the ability to join other groups at far lower cost, including the Association of American Educators and the Christian Educators.

    Unions try to argue that non-members are “freeloaders,” if they don’t join the union. Don’t buy it. The reality is the opposite. Unions have been freeloading off their members for years when pushing their political agenda to which a majority of their members who are Republicans, Independents, or even Democrats are opposed. Their arrogance and lust for power has destroyed their credibility on the issue. If you are a teacher, when was the last time you were asked your opinion about where your dues money should go? Teachers who have recently made the decision to quit their unions are routinely angered by the fact that the dues that could have helped fund their retirement have been squandered for years on political campaigns by their union bosses’ favored candidates.

    What are the facts? In 2020 alone, 98% of union political donations went to Democrat candidates, only 2% went to Republicans. For example, in 2020, the California Education Association (CEA) spent a total of $5,627,755. Of this $544,049 was spent on behalf of Democrat candidates, while $5,083,706 was spent against Republican candidates. This is typical in state after state.

    The Roads to Freedom

    Fortunately, there are two major national and non-political associations that offer superior alternatives to forced unionization and the gross misuse of your dues.

    Association of American Educators (AAE)

    This is the largest national, non-union, professional educators' organization, advancing the profession by offering a modern approach to teacher representation and educational advocacy, as well as promoting professionalism, collaboration and excellence without a partisan agenda.

    Annual dues are $234 ($19.50 per month). In CT, the savings is roughly $650 per year, or $19,500 over 30 years. Invested in an IRA, that $19,500, yielding 8% annually, will produce a return of more than $75,000 at retirement. The return from NEA or AFT dues in both cases: $0.

    Additional benefits to AAE members: $2 million in individual liability insurance vs. the $1 million provided to NEA and AFT members. And members also have legal representation that attaches directly to the member, not the union. For additional benefits, visit: https://www.aaeteachers.org/

    Christian Educators (https://www.christianeducators.org)

    Christian Educators has been encouraging, equipping, and empowering Christian educators in K-12 public, charter and private schools for over 65 years. It provides a non-political, low-cost Christian alternative to the NEA and AFT.

    Annual dues are $239 (Full Time); $369 for couples; with lesser amounts for part-timers, students, retired, etc. In CT, that constitutes a savings of over $611 every year, or $18,330 over a 30-year career ($39,930 for a couple). Assuming an annual return of 8% this will produce more than $70,000 upon retirement ($153,000 for a couple). The return from NEA or AFT dues: $0.

    Additional benefits: $2 million in professional liability insurance vs. the $1 million provided to NEA and AFT members, and legal representation that attaches directly to the member, not the union. For additional membership benefits, see: https://christianeducators.org/public/.

    By contrast, Connecticut Education Association provides only $1 million in professional liability insurance. And legal representation (protection) is at union discretion and does not follow the member.

    The Connecticut Road to Freedom

    A Facebook group, Constitution State Educators, has been formed for teachers who wish to escape the control of the NEA and AFT. For a base of supportive teachers and detailed information on how to write a resignation letter to your union, click here.

    Their e-mail is: [email protected]

    Know that you do not have to join a teachers’ union and have your dues used to support candidates and causes that are hostile to your values.

    August is the opt-out window for quitting your union (this arbitrary limitation is under challenge) and dramatically enhancing your future financial prospects. While the CEA has an August-only rule for leaving, they have let some CT teachers out in other months. If you'd like help getting out NOW, rather than being limited to August, Constitution State Educators can connect you with lawyers who may be able to help you for free.

    In any event, don’t allow school administrators, staff or union officers to employ intimidation tactics or coercion to dissuade you from making the right decision. This is highly improper. The choice is yours. Emancipate yourself today.

    Kendall Svengalis, President
    New England LawPress

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    Kendall Svengalis

    Kendall Svengalis is the President New England LawPress.

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