I want to see a show of hands of those who believe the union is on our side

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by Evian, Aug 9, 2011.

  1. Evian

    Evian Rookie

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    Do you really think the union is on your side? What is the union in your neck of the woods doing to save your job, reduce your work load or stop them from increasing your work hours w/o pay? Do you see them really working for you or do they seem to have an agenda?
     
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  3. btteach

    btteach Rookie

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    My hand is raised....

    Our union does fight for us. They take on the school board, human resources dept., and superintendent for us-about pink slips, new hires, furlough days and how the district moves around large chunks of money but still says they need to RIF a bunch of us. They show up for meetings when we need representation. And they call back when you leave messages because you've got questions about the way admin or principals are treating specific individuals. I thank God that we have a union-couldn't do without it!:D
     
  4. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    My union works for me. The union president even returns calls after work hours...on the same day that you phone. If she can't return your call, she gets the vice-president to call you. Mine sets up rallies in the community and is really vocal -- says what is on her mind without sugar coating it. She cut "district" jobs before cutting teacher/educational assistant jobs. She even offered to do a surprise visit to our school when we were working under the principal from h*ll.
     
  5. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I think our union could do a better job but they're better than nothing and better than a lot of other unions out there. I'll give them a B-.
     
  6. HWilson

    HWilson Comrade

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    We are not allowed to be a part of the union in most jobs (all jobs I've ever had) here in SC ...
     
  7. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    Two hands up for my union and two thumbs up :thumb: :thumb:

    Our governor and state super worked and is contining to work very hard to remove collective bargining from all union workers. Our DOE has written a contract they want every school corp and every teacher to sign with a statment written in the contract

    #4 "The number of days and hours may be modified by the corporation during and after the term of the contract." :dizzy:
     
  8. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    We're in a very similar situation as INteacher. We pay a lot for our dues (almost 1000 a year). However, I believe they are trying their best to help us. At times though, I think our president needs to take a step back and think before she talks.
     
  9. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Texas teachers aren't allowed to be in unions, either. Well, we are (I belong to AFT and TFT), but we have no bargaining rights. They protect us if we have a legal need, and they lobby for us with the legislature.

    For those who are "anti-Union", I ask you to look carefully at the Southern states. Most of us are "right to work" which means no union. Are our educational systems markedly better? Nope. As a matter of fact, they consistently rank lower than states with unions....
     
  10. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Personally, I'm not part of our union (the dues are really expensive, and as a first year teacher who had just relocated, I simply couldn't afford it). I do support the idea of unions in general though- I don't have anything against them it was just that I couldn't afford it.

    This year, I know I am getting a lot more high-maintence parents, so I am thinking about coming up with the money just for the legal protection. Obviously I hope I won't need it, but it is a nice safeguard to have.
     
  11. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    My union is strong and effective.:thumb:
     
  12. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Aug 10, 2011

    Same here. Public education in Ontario would be very different without it.
     
  13. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I'm not in a union-- my Catholic school doesn't have one or need one. So I'm an outsider looking in on this issue.

    But do you mean to imply that there's a correllation between unions and quality of education? In what way?

    I would think that unions could be tied into teacher satisfaction, but don't really see how that would translate into better teaching. The unions protect all their members, whether the teacher is right or wrong, effective or not, so I would imagine their effects on actual learning would sort of even out.
     
  14. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Alice...unions will represent 'wrong' ineffective teachers in dispute with administration, but not as a means to keep ineffective teachers in schools. Unions (at least mine) value professionalism, take pride in what good teachers do. When it comes to the teachers who are not effective, unions are there to ensure that due process according to our contracts is followed...and as far as 'teacher satisfaction', I'd say that my union is 'tied' to professional development, improving the working conditions of teachers, and maintaining the benefits/conditions that have been collectively bargained thru contract negotiations. While it may not be a direct correlation to student learning, one would think that when teachers are valued as professionals, supported thru quality PD, and have positive working conditions, that can affect the kinds of teachers that schools can recruit and have an effect on the quality of instruction. Yes, those things can, and do, happen in places without unions, but from our experience on these forums, you and I (with and without a union) have it much better than many educators.
     
  15. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    No, I don't think there is a direct connection, but the people that are anti-Union often claim that unions are weakening education (or whatever field they are in). That was what I meant by my post. It's not the fault of the unions that we have poor schools.
     
  16. PerfectCircles

    PerfectCircles Rookie

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    Our union is fantastic. Of course everyone in the district might not agree. But they fight hard to keep things fair and appropriate. They try to protect the new guy as well as the veterans. This summer they fought furloughs by holding union meetings to get opinions and advice then taking proposals to the board.

    One example of how they help the quality of education in our district would be planning time. One elementary school was regularly pulling teachers from their planning time to cover other teachers, meetings, etc. They were able to work into the contract a mandatory planning period each day for all teachers. The actual length varies by building and class minutes, but at least now elementary teachers with 5 preps can be guaranteed a little time during the school day to prepare for them.

    Sure, professional development is important, and so is coverage for other teachers. But if you're talking about the quality of education, you need quality lessons. And it's hard to put that together if you're never given the time to plan or review.
     
  17. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Devotee

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    What is this Union you speak of?

    Where I'm at there isn't one for ESC Teachers.
     
  18. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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    I've seen several bad teachers feel untouchable because they know tenure protects them. This is the thing that upsets me the most about unions. The process of firing a teacher is ridiculous and almost impossible to perform. I also often hear people who are pro union constantly say, "there are no bad teachers". I find this statement completely irrational and it just makes us look bad. :2cents:
     
  19. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    In every contract and in every district there is always a procedure for getting rid of bad and ineffective teachers. Administrators have to do the legwork to make it happen but it's entirely possible. It's not fair to blame unions for the fact that administrators are lazy in this regard. All the unions are doing is ensuring that we get due process.
     
  20. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    :thumb:

    I still don't understand why people think tenure keeps bad teachers. Tenure protects due process, meaning that a teacher can't be fired for no reason. The admin just actually needs to take the time to go through the process. The other special ed teacher that I will work with this coming year is on her 2nd year of probation. If she doesn't improve this year, she will be fired even though she's had tenure for 5-6 years now. She didn't do anything horrifyingly bad or illegal, she's just plain not good at her job. She doesn't follow a schedule, she doesn't write IEP's or lead meetings well, she's not where she's supposed to be most of the time, she doesn't progress monitor, etc. She is a classic example of the "bad" teacher that people think unions protect. They are giving her a fair shot to improve, but they're not protecting her from losing her job.
     
  21. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    I would guess that in most states without unions, it's just as difficult and time consuming to get rid of a bad teacher. Like others have said, even without a union, you are usually given due process.

    Unless you're in Texas and the state government sees you as the enemy and a drain on state finances...

    Let's talk about what can happen in states without a union. During the summer the Texas legislature passed SB 8 which does the following:

    1. allows for six unpaid furlough days for teachers and moves the contract notification date closer to the end of the school year. Teachers typically receive their contracts on the 45th day before the end of school. SB 8 moves that up to the 10th day before the end of school.

    2. The bill denies a teacher a hearing before an independent examiner of the Texas Education Agency if his or her contract is terminated in the case the district files financial exigency, or essentially financial distress. So if the district suddenly says they simply can't afford to continue to employ us because we cost too much to employ, they can fire us. Period. We have no recourse.

    3. It removes the state’s salary minimum.

    How this is going to help the kids and improve our schools, I have no clue. What it has done is create an atmosphere of fear. The veteran teachers have NO protection, regardless of our abilities. As a matter of fact NO ONE has protection of any kind. The district simply has to say that your position is costing them too much money, and poof, you're gone. They can also make this decision mid year if they choose.
     
  22. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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    I don't quite understand how other people in other careers can survive very well without unions and teachers can't. I worked at a check printing company and I knew I could get fired in a split second. In fact, I witnessed how a couple of friends got fired and were scorted out that same day without having a "due process". My husband, an accountant, also doesn't have an union and he has been doing fine without the union's protection. He has sharpened his skills, kept up to date with the lastest changes in his profession and has been able to get good paying jobs.

    I understand the part of protecting against bad principals but I believe that everybody, teacher or not, has had bad bosses. Why do we need that much protection? Are teachers really overly abused more than any other professions?
     
  23. karebear76

    karebear76 Habitué

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    I whole-heartedly support and stand behind my union. I'm proud to be the daughter of a union man (UMWA), and equally proud to be a union member now.

    Unions give us a lot of 'perks' that are really just humane, but the union contract enforces them. My union contract dictates that ALL teachers in the district get a 30 minute duty free lunch, sets the standard for pay when asked to perform extra duties, dictates air quality, sets the working hours, establishes the rate of sick leave accumulation, details grievance procedures, as well as many others.

    Without unions, this country would be mired in low paying jobs, and long hours (15 - 18 hour days??), with little to no benefits; which in turn create hazardous working environments.

    I'll say it again, I'm proud to be a unionized American!
     
  24. joe22k

    joe22k Rookie

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    I work in a right to work state. I am not saying what to blame it on but if you look up the anti-union states and where they rank in test scores they are all near, if not at, the bottom of the rankings.
     
  25. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I think that everyone should be unionized. It's not that teachers are any more abused than any other profession; it's that many employers have historically done everything in their power to stick it to their employees. I guess I find it really sad when people complain about the someone else benefiting from a union instead of agreeing that everyone should receive the same sorts of benefits at their jobs. There's an old Russian joke where a peasant says, "My neighbor has a cow and I have none, so I want his cow to die." It seems fitting here.
     
  26. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    I think for us the problem is that even though I sharpen my skills and keep up to date with the latest changes and expectations of my profession, I'm not guaranteed to be able to keep my job.

    Your husband is safe because he works in the private sector and makes money for his company. As a government worker, my job isn't about bringing money in to my district. It's about educating kids. Your husband's job (or his success at it) is pretty easily monitored. He either is bringing in money or he's losing it. He's either following the laws that govern accounting or he isn't. Measuring whether or not I'm teaching is much more difficult and subjective, especially when it's MAINLY based on a one-time administered test that many consider to be seriously flawed to begin with!

    Because of the arbitrary nature of our work, it is that much more important that we are given due process.
     
  27. jcar03

    jcar03 Companion

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    If you are unhappy with something, I hope you are going to your union meetings and geting involved with whatever you can.
     
  28. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    We have a great union in Alabama, AEA. We have a great rep for our area. She fights for us like no one else. You need her? Call her! She's is there to help. She and other Alabama reps fight for us tooth and nail to make sure the government doesn't do us wrong. They are there for us, the teacher. I wish all states had union reps like we do here in Alabama. Makes me PROUD TO BE FROM ALABAMA. I can't begin to imagine teaching in a state with no union.
     
  29. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Well, I *am* a member of AFT/TFT, but until Texas is no longer a "right to work" state, we will struggle. Maybe if enough of us see our friends and families abused and treated unjusly, we'll stop voting for the same people again and again who don't support the rights of workers....
     
  30. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I think my union is on my side as far as they would help me with a legal situation and give advice about contracts and things. They aren't very active here in Louisiana, so I don't ever pay attention to all the national union stuff. It just doesn't impact me. I actually am turned off by how political it's all become.
     
  31. Leatherette

    Leatherette Comrade

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    In my first couple of years of teaching, I did not trust unions - I believed all of the standard myths, due to my inexperience.

    Where I work now, everyone pays dues to the union, but to be a full member, you sign up. The first completely unreasonable, harrassing, inept principal I saw (not even my principal), I signed up with a quickness. I understood who would have my career in their hands if I didn't have a union.

    Also, being public sector employees, we can't ask for raises or bonuses. The budget for the whole system is determined based on salary schedules and number of employees. There is no profit to dip into, where employees can share in the "good times", as in parts of the private sector.

    The top dogs at our district waste money like crazy, there are financial scandals all of the time. Without our bargaining, our salaries and benefits would be cut every time some top level bozo tossed part of our budget out the window.

    Our former superintendent, with no union to protect her, had a contract that gave her a year's pay if she was to be fired before her contract was up. She walked out of here with $270,000 for free after her involvement in a financial scandal that lost millions for our district.

    And there you have the private, non-unionized sector - people like my former supe, and then people working for Walmart who can be sexually harassed and not get any health care coverage and are supposed to feel grateful for their minimum wage part time job.

    I don't love everything my union does, but I'll stick with them over the alternatives.
     
  32. comaba

    comaba Cohort

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    From what I've read, you do have a great union in Alabama! I was very surprised to learn that administrators, as well as members of the state board of ed, are members of AEA. If that were true in all states, then there might not be such division in education.

    Does anyone know.... Are there other states that include administrators in their union membership?
     
  33. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    I'm almost positive that admin can join our union as well. However, our union is just our school and not the whole state or anything. It's also a choice to join (they don't just automatically take dues out of your paycheck) so I think that takes away a lot of bad feelings some teachers might have about it. It could be a little unfair because they fight for everyone's salary/benefits etc. whether you pay dues or not. However, if you're not a member you can't get individual support from them should you feel you're being treated unfairly or find yourself in a legal sitaution. Apparently if you belong to the union and need a lawyer for any reason, they completely cover the costs which would be huge.
     
  34. Emily Bronte

    Emily Bronte Groupie

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    Bandnerd, this is true in terms of ranking. Southern states rank lower, from all of the info. I have seen.
     
  35. Emily Bronte

    Emily Bronte Groupie

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    Our union fights for us. Administration is working on reducing our workloads for the upcoming year, and they are not doing it out of the goodness of their hearts. They are doing it because the union is fighting for it in negotiations. I had issues with a lane change this last year and the union president was right on top of it. I was pleased and grateful.
     

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