Discussion in 'General Education' started by czacza, Feb 25, 2018.
Feb 25, 2018
Janus case being heard in SCOTUS this week. Any thoughts?
I hope the plaintiff wins. I don't like the idea of anyone being forced to contribute their hard earned income to ANY organization whose viewpoints may not necessarily reflect their own. (Taxes excluded, that is a whole separate discussion.)
I think the plaintiff is likely to win, and that will be a big loss. Unions have brought us so many benefits.
Why exclude taxes? I may disagree with how the government spends “my money” but I must pay nonetheless.
No free lunch, as they say.
Unions have done good, but this particular union is a little too tied into the government.
Really? Im not seeing that at the state or federal level
Well, it's certainly not a private union. Of course, I'm not in that state and don't know the ins and outs of how it works there, but it's one thing to pay taxes. It's another to have to agree to certain political views in order to keep an unrelated job.
The current ruling is that unions can collect a ‘fair share’ from non union staff in exchange for collective bargaining. Their fees may not be used for political action. In my 18 years in my district, I know of only one person who went this route.
OK then I think non-union employees should have a different contract and not reap the benefits of collective bargaining or representation. I don’t know how that would work though.
I excluded taxes only for the sake of this discussion. Joining a union (and/or paying dues) should be voluntary. Taxes should not be.
I absolutely do not think paying union dues should be voluntary. In Ontario, its mandatory. When someone (who teaches) complains, I say, "Why don't you go work for a private school?" And they usually say, "They don't pay so well." Duh? Why do you think we get paid so well? The UNION!
I'm in a right to work state. It's irritating that some can choose not to pay union dues and get the same benefits as everyone else. IMO, those that choose not to join the union should get the "first offer" that the district makes in contract negotiations (salary, plan time, etc.). Then if they want to try to negotiate a better offer by themselves, they're welcome to. They shouldn't get the benefit of having the union negotiate for them.
But why? Union dues is what we pay for all of the work done for the good of the whole. Same thing with taxes.
That's right---and my union dues have done a lot more good for me than my tax dollars (at least as far as my quality of life is concerned!)
I don't look at it as getting the same benefits as everyone else. Sure, the district may opt to pay all employees - union members or not - on the same salary schedule and with the same employee benefits. However, that's the district's call. The union cannot dictate how non-union members are compensated by the district. Even if the district does compensate all employees the same, non-union members are not getting the same benefits from the union that it offers to its members. For example, non-union members are not getting the benefit of representation in meetings with administrators, nor are they getting member discounts, access to PD opportunities sponsored by the union, liability insurance, or legal representation. Unions offer a lot more to their members than collective bargaining. Just because someone doesn't want to take advantage of all of that, or just because they don't want to engage in the political action and possible strikes that unions sometimes lead, doesn't mean that they should be prohibited from receiving the compensation and benefits that the district has chosen to offer them.
I think what @GTB4GT is saying is that it is not fair to have an organization represent you with differing beliefs AND have to pay for it, especially if you don’t agree with their ideals. I, for one, don’t agree with a number of policies enacted in recent years by public school districts, which is one of the many reasons why I work at a private school instead. (FYI, my private school is not affiliated with any school district and so I don’t have to pay union dues or deal with bureaucratic nonsense.)
This is anecdotal, but public school districts in CA take out a lot: 2% for union dues, 8% for pension plans, 9-10% for healthcare, plus FICA (minus Social Security) and state and local taxes. This adds up, so much so that teachers can make 50-60% of their gross salary in some cases. To demonstrate, I currently make $55,000 as a 4th-year teacher and if I worked in a public school I would lose an automatic $5,500/year right off the top just from union and pension fees alone. When I initially interviewed for a public teaching job and all of the fees were explained to me, I laughed at the union rep and told them that’s not happening and walked out. I can do better investing in the private industry than investing in a 403b. Case in point, I made over $20,000 investing in cryptocurrencies in three months and $15,000 recently from other stocks. My portfolio continues to expand and I’m only 25. Why would I put someone else in charge of my retirement plan when I can do a much better job myself, but I digress.
The case can be made either way. However, the people against mandatory union fees, myself included, don’t like people having further say in what we do with OUR own money. We resent it when other (entitled) people think they have a right to our paycheck.
Well I don’t want to get shut down for being political, but there is very little I agree with what the current government does with my money, which I have to pay or go to jail; does that make those who agree “entitled?”
I am going to share a secret with you.This is not anectodal but one based on personal experience. Before becoming a teacher, I worked in business. In management. I have negotiated labor contracts on behalf of management and owners. With companies that had unions. And those that didn't. In all cases, management, knows EXACTLY what it will pay for wages and benefits and other terms of employment. It will never pay more than that figure and is willing to pay less. In NOT one single case that I was involved in DID a union EVER negotiate a better deal than it's non-union counterparts. In fact, the best deal ever negotiated was by a non-union group that was one of the best performing operations of its type in North America. It negotiated a deal worth almost 100% of the full value that we were willing to pay. And the owners were glad to pay it as they knew they would get significant ROI on this deal.
You can believe the union people if you want to. Of course, I'm fairly certain that your union leaders will tell you otherwise. However, if you have been involved in contract negotiations yourself, I'm willing to listen. Unions had a purpose in our country maybe 40+ years ago. But now they exist to make their leaders rich. And for no other reason.
Please read the above sentence in bold again. That is not speculation. Or hyperbole. If you have data to the contrary, please share it.
Teachers unions are not a branch of government, capiche?
My union dues basically paid for themselves. I was volunteering to advise a club for my school once per week before school. I wasn't getting paid for it. My union rep reached out to me, and said "Hey, that's a popular club you've got going. Would you like us to see if we can get it a stipend in place for it?" Surely enough, they were able to get me a stipend in less than a month's time. The amount of the stipend isn't enormous, but it's about equal to the same as what I pay in union dues per year so I view it as already having paid for itself.
I know our union reps work tirelessly negotiating the contract, and spend many, many nights negotiating with the board during negotiation season. I've never directly participated so I can't really say what goes on in those meetings, but I am willing to believe they are getting us a better deal than would be offered without negotiating.
I am going to share a secret with you. You are not the only one to have professional experience outside of education or to negotiate contracts.
I have negotiated contracts in both arenas.
And, why yes, I know unions (or associations as we call them in my state) are not a branch of government, by the way.
The union is founded on the idea that it's members are willing to believe exactly as you do. I'm just saying that hasn't always been the experience. If the union is hostile or antaganostic, it will leave money on the table. The thing about the unions, they don't know the cards that the other side is holding. To assure they collect their dues, they ALWAYS say they got the best deal. But they rarely have...AND NEVER know what the other sides best offer was/is. And kudos on the stipend. Maybe you could have gotten it by yourself if you had asked?
Care to enlighten us with details of your experience?
@Missy, then they should not have the tax collecting power that Uncle Sam does.
The states with unions almost unanimously have better pay, protections, and benefits than those without. I think that's the bottom line. [Maybe I could've gotten it asking by myself, but I couldn't see myself just asking out of the blue.]
We have the option at my school to negotiate our salaries or we can elect to be put on the salary schedule. I chose to be put on the teacher salary schedule because I am maxed out in pay (Masters + Additional Units + Clear Credential) and receive a $5,000/year raise. That’s good enough for me. I think public schools should allow teachers to negotiate their salaries, especially if they have a proven track record (are highly effective) and have several advanced degrees. It boggles my mind that certain districts will pay PhD holders $50,000 in certain instances after several successful years in the field. It’s ridiculous. Everywhere else they would make more, but I guess the unions don’t value them enough.
Interesting. I'll take you word on this. What about working conditions. Would most say that the jobs are better for teachers in union or right to work states?
Of course the working conditions are better!
I mean just look at this-----9 of the top 10 states for teachers are union states----only one RTW state in there
And have you read about what happened in Wiconsin when the teachers unions were gutted?
AHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAH you crack me up buddy.
Feb 26, 2018
You're familiar with adjunct professor salaries?
I've worked in both-right to work and union- In the union state,
I had a closet for a classroom, (literally converted janitorial closet)
taught 6 different preps with no books or materials--two that I was not certified for (1st year teacher)
made a decent paycheck by money, but couldn't afford to live on it (NYC)
no stipends for extra-curriculars (I did chorus, drama club and tutoring)
no PD funds
no tuition reimbursement
was told by my district that I would lose my job if I went out on strike (we had a planned one when I was there), but was belittled when I told my co-workers that I would cross the line in the event of the strike
In the right-to-work state
decent size classrooms, all at least real rooms
at most 4 preps, but asked for those - generally have textbooks and technology
paycheck is less than what I'd make in NY, but I can live on it, with extra
stipends for extra-curriculars, some tutoring (district specific) and Saturday School
Tuition reimbursement (again district specific)
So, I don't buy the "unions are better" argument. I'm doing better now without a union, and have for most of my career.
Of course, using your specific situation to try and make an argument.......
There are exceptions to every rule.
I work in a union state and have literally the opposite situation as you. Perhaps it was just a bad district.
Honestly those who live and work in a union state and work in a private school probably indirectly benefit from unions and collective bargaining and private schools have to keep wages competitive with the surrounding public schools to attract teachers. I’ve seen some salary guides in CA and they look pretty good (I know the standard of living is high) and I can’t imagine many private schools being much worse off.
You are partially correct. My schools offers competitive salaries to compete with the surrounding schools to keep talented employees on staff. With that said, my colleagues and I are paid extremely well (I will make max out at $100k in year 13) and we get better benefits in most cases. Case in point, our healthcare is 100% paid for by the school, so I pay zero, and our vision and dental are dirt cheap ($40/month in total for both); additionally, we get 1 prep period for each class, unless we want to teach more classes, and at the end of the year we can request to teach different classes within our subject area. The best part is that class size maximums are set at 25 and are never allowed to exceed that.
I don’t need a union to have job security. Before any teacher can be terminated, the P must show just cause and it has to be approved by the school board. Basically, you know you have a job next year if student test scores exceed the national and state average, students and parents are happy, students continually show positive growth, and you are rated as an effective teacher or above. That’s all that’s required.
Absolutely! The private schools I've worked on need to be competitive compared to local (union) public schools so we end up with pretty good salaries/benefits
My thoughts on the case - fear. We have so much to lose. I have a very strong union at the moment- great health, dental, sick days that last through retirement, class sizes capped - high, but capped - and other things I don't even think about. Even the annual environmental checks at our school sites are due at least in part because our union stepped in. I don't want to think about what could be lost. Here's hoping that I am wrong. I am willing to be wrong. I just would prefer to not find out. I am hoping that this case does not break the bargaining power of our united coworkers. I hope I am wrong to fear.
I'm not worried. The Chicago Teachers Union has merged with the charter school union to offset anybody who dips out of paying dues. 100% of my school has re-carded and agreed to pay dues even if we don't have to. I anticipate most buildings will be the same. There are even amendments leaving potential future membership open to private schools.
How much are union fees, generally?
Wondering for both those in and not in a union (if they're paying the fees talked about in the OP).
I don't have a lot of experience with unions.
Feb 27, 2018
Our dues run around 1200 per year, but it's taken like $60 from each check.
I pay about $58 per month during the school year through an automatic bank draft deduction to be a member of my state NEA affiliate. It’s not technically a union, but an association instead.
I paid $53-55 per paycheck, which could be 2-3 times per month during the school year, when I was a member of a union. It was significantly more money, and I enjoyed the benefits and responsibilities of my membership with the union much less than I’ve enjoyed my membership with the association.