Flush with a court victory in June’s Janus decision, the groups behind the plaintiff began campaigns in the states covered by the decision, such as California, to counter organizing activities and recruitment drives by teachers’ unions.
That was expected. Teachers’ unions are among the most demonized targets in the savage politics of our era. Keeping unions from signing up new members to offset the loss of agency fees from non-members would be a goal of the now status-quo reform crowd who view unions as the greatest obstacle to their privatization agenda.
But the Janus decision has no effect in Florida, which has had right-to-work laws for a long time. Florida unions have adjusted to those who benefit from union-negotiated contracts, but don’t have to pay the union for that service.
There is no reason for Florida teachers to receive email messages such as this:
Districts can’t withstand union demands.
Unions make promises of raises, better benefits, and working conditions, but are often unable to deliver on those promises. Union demands have become so great, many school districts are now suffering under this pressure. Too often, promises made by unions are unsustainable.
You do not have to pay for a union that is not delivering on its promises. To learn more about the topic click here.”
But that is the message I received this weekend from a group calling itself MyPayMySay.
I visited their website to “learn more.” If you can stomach it, this is all they offer (1 minute 20 seconds):
The video is misleading and features the usual tired rhetoric about teachers’ unions opposing improvement in education and forcing members to support their political positions.
The site really is not to “learn more,” but to present a way for anyone to “opt out” of their union. Notice how they attempt to co-opt the language of those who oppose the privatization agenda, in this case, those who oppose annual standardized testing by states.
GOT has to ask: Why is this necessary for Florida? No teacher is forced to join a union and no non-member pays anything to the union.
This is union-busting, plain and simple.
My Pay, My Say: Yes, yes it is. It is MY PAY and MY SAY and Grumpy Old Teacher has this to say: My union delivers. I have better pay, better benefits, and better working conditions because my union represents its members. In particular, my union was able to preserve health insurance for the employee without a payroll deduction to help pay for it.
The pay isn’t great. After 14 years, my base salary is only $44,000 a year. Still, I manage.
If my pay and benefits are unsustainable, it is not because my desires are out-of-line. Many teachers struggle to sustain a minimum standard-of-living on their teacher salary. Did you see the Time cover and read the lead story, MyPayMySay?
The unsustainability of teacher compensation is due to state legislatures defunding their schools through millage reductions, transfer of tax dollars to voucher programs and charter schools, and establishing numerous categoricals that limit what school systems can spend funding increases on.
What is unsustainable is the destruction of public education, the profiteering by politicians (oh yes, it seems every Florida legislator who champions charter schools works for a charter chain or has a relative (spouse, sibling, in-law) who owns and operates charter schools.
What is unsustainable is the corruption. I often wonder if the only reason the politicians and legislators get away with it is because they are so blatant about what they are doing.
I support my union because it delivers. My district enjoys labor peace because it works with the union for the benefit of all. My union will agree to set aside contract rules if a situation demands it. We have given up negotiated step raises when the U.S. economy goes into recession. We are not the enemy; we are the partners that make our school system work for all.