Janus case

Discussion in 'General Education' started by czacza, Feb 25, 2018.

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  1. tchr4vr

    tchr4vr Companion

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    I worked in New York City Public Schools, home of one of the strongest teacher's unions in the country. Yeah Randi Weingarten.
     
  2. tchr4vr

    tchr4vr Companion

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    I too have great medical coverage. I pay about $58.00 bi weekly for health, dental and vision. My prescription that I need is free under my health plan. My retirement contribution is decent amount too, I believe our state covers 80% I think. We also have capped classes, and a prep every day. And unless you're in your first two years, they can't fire you without cause, and even in the first two years, there is a process. So, I don't think I'm any worse off than anyone who has a union, and when I did have a union, I didn't want to be part of it, but had to be--if I wasn't a member, the union only takes partial dues, but you still have to pay.
     
  3. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Yeah, but I don’t pay anything and STILL get all of that.
     
  4. MrTempest

    MrTempest Companion

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    I just wish that Georgia had an actual teachers union
     
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  5. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    The fact that this entire thread has boiled down to "Will I make more money?!" and not "what is better for students?" is exactly why I anxiously await the day I am no longer compelled to support a cause with which i do not agree as a condition of my employment.

    For those who want to call me a free rider - that is the union's fault. They are the ones who have lobbied for state laws that make them the sole bargaining voice in public schools. I will happily negotiate my own contract as soon as they pay their cronies in Sacramento to change the law.

    I pay $60 A MONTH to be a union non-member. I don't even get to vote on the contract that they negotiate, by law, on my behalf. I don't get to speak at meetings. I have no input on negotiations. Why should I have to pay any part of that to have no voice?
     
  6. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    Unions have not just negotiated better pay (although I really wish people would stop acting like I need to defend getting paid well for the very hard work I do). Unions create more equity (as a woman I get paid the same as my male counterparts in spite of the fact that this isn't true in any non-unionized profession in Canada and the stats back this up). Being able to negotiate pay individually is actually a disadvantage as a woman because the odds are stacked against me (the author of Lean In does a great job reviewing the research about this). Unions limit work load to a reasonable level. They ensure I have access to sick leave and other types of leave. They support me if something goes wrong at work. I could go on and on. Our union dues in Ontario are not low but I don't for a minute question their value. None of these things are available to my non-unionized private school teacher colleagues in Ontario.
     
  7. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    Yeah, but come on, didn't you hear, there are a few posters on here that work in some pretty nice non-union schools!
    :rofl:
     
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  8. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    And again, not one mention of students.

    And even if you want to make the argument that better conditions for teachers means better conditions for students why should anyone be forced to support that position?
     
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  9. physteach

    physteach Companion

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    The purpose of a union is to represent it's members. The students are not a union's members.
     
  10. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    In Europe, unions consider the students because the primary job of teachers is to teach students.
     
  11. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    Then you are benefiting from the the unions getting higher pay and medical benefits. Your private employer needs to compete with the public sector. You should join the union just so you aren't one of the people who want to benefit but not contribute.
     
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  12. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    This makes zero sense. My school administrators have actually said on numerous occasions that they would pay us more even if public schoolteachers in the area were paid poorly. They have a habit of outbidding the public school teacher salary schedules by several thousand so we get more applicants. It just makes sense economically because that is how you retain and recruit talent. For example, say the starting salary in the area is $38,000 for a 1st-year teacher. My school would offer like $40,000 and better than average annual increases on top of that to outcompete the public school. In fact, they routinely check the teacher salary schedules to make sure that we are more competitive.

    I hope the salaries go up for public schoolteachers in the area because that would mean we get a raise, too, and one better than they get!
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2018
  13. 3Sons

    3Sons Connoisseur

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    So you're saying the better deal public schoolteachers get, the better it is for you...
     
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  14. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    OMG "Prof Joins the Union"

    Best. Reality. TV. Show. Ever.
     
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  15. jadorelafrance

    jadorelafrance Cohort

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    And slightly less poorly if public school teachers were paid poorly.
     
  16. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    I couldn't agree more, which is why I want no part of being in the teacher's union.
     
  17. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    Such a noble guy----do you donate all of your disposable income to your students?
     
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  18. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Hahaha!
     
  19. physteach

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    What I am reading into this is that you think an organization whose mission it is to focus on one group of people should instead focus on another. That isn't how it works.
     
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  20. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Mar 3, 2018

    During negotiations, our federation focuses on issues like smaller class sizes, more supports for our vulnerable students, greater recognition of the importance of professional judgement when planning, evaluating and reporting, addressing the growing issue of violence in the workplace, job stability and transparency in hiring practices.These all translate into better conditions for our students. Unfortunately, when we are engaged in negotiations, salary and benefits tend to get all of the (often negative) press.

    For me, a salary increase is nice, but doesn't make a huge difference in my quality of life. Not having adequate supports and resources for my students does impact theirs.
     
  21. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Using MrsC's comment to address an issue, not to reply to MrsC directly.

    But adequate supports, reduced class sizes, and resources helps you also by reducing the chaos that can happen when these things aren't provided. I would even suggest that those things might make your live better than just having the money without those changes.

    ------
    When working in an environment where there is more than two parties, the needs of all impacts all. European unions also have a focus on the whole because they know that it is the whole that most directly impacts the lives of everyone. I'm not saying money never comes into it, but that isn't the main focus.
     
  22. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    You sure slipped down that slope quickly. Was there a sale on straw at the bottom?
     
  23. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    You should read it as I should not be forced to support an organization that works against my focus. If you choose to, go nuts.
     
  24. jadorelafrance

    jadorelafrance Cohort

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    By not wanting to or refusing to pay union dues, you’re essentially saying that you disagree with unions (although I know that people just don’t agree with the politics of unions, but still want to be représented. Whatever). Should they then be dissolved? As long as unions exist with members, those non-union teachers will still benefit from the negotiations that the unions do for its members (salary/benefits, better working conditions etc.), even if non-union members can negotiate for themselves (they will at least be able to negotiate the same or higher salaries as union employees). Do people really think they (the individual) can negotiate better than a union (a committee of multiple people)? I think unions also fight against inequality in pay. If everyone negotiated their pay, would there be more of a pay difference between men and women?
    If non-union people who hate unions want them dissolved, what about the people who want a union? What’s the happy medium? Because as long as unions exist, everyone in that profession (and especially region) will benefit somehow. If we look at non-union states and see how well they’re doing....

    My bf worked at a private school for a number of years in an area of my state that has lower pay in general for teachers (lower cost of living). The admin threatened to fire teachers if they unionized. They constantly had their benefits worsened and pay cut (so they could create a beautiful admin building and beautify their campus) throughout the years that I don’t know how they could remain competitive. He eventually left.
     
  25. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Sure. It might be much easier for a physics teacher to be able to negotiate a higher salary because it is just one person rather than that negotiation applying to all teachers.
     
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  26. jadorelafrance

    jadorelafrance Cohort

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    This is already done in one school district in Colorado (I know someone who works there). The result is still crappy pay (compared to cost of living) with no union (no collective bargaining), but math and special ed teachers are slightly less crappily paid. Does that make physicists or mathematicians want to come knocking down their door? In my district we have many highly trained or education teachers because we can keep out salary competitive. Obviously less than private sector (where there’s less of them in the field and there’s more revenue coming in), but at least competitive to area schools (and non-union private schools).
     
  27. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    You seem to ignore that even in right-to-work states that education associations have, in most cases, exclusive negotiation power when it comes to pay and benefits. Union or no, associations are still doing the "collective bargaining".
     
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  28. jadorelafrance

    jadorelafrance Cohort

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    In this particular example, the board created the pay “scale” with room for individual negotiations, but the outcome is still bad pay. Perhaps the union would have negotiated something better for everyone (which is maybe why the board let the old contract expire and refused negotiations thus probably saving themselves a bunch of money). It is a wealthy district. I don’t really buy that physics teachers can negotiate better pay. Maybe slightly, but they’re essentially doing the same work as other teachers. Their skills are different and may be more valued by some people, but at least in my school, English teachers probably grade the most and math teachers have to work really hard to reach students who aren’t interested or don’t understand as well. It all balances out. We all work a ton of hours outside of contract and bring something valuable to the table (a skill). I work my ass off grading and planning (4 preps including AP with essays and oral presentations all the time) every evening and the weekends and I’d be pretty pissed if a brand new math teacher came in making more than me. Honestly I’d probably just leave and find something else. I don’t think teaching in general is going to attract people who want to make a lot of money. So a physicist isn’t going to leave their high paying job to negotiate an awesome high paying teaching job anywhere that competes with what they had before. It’s the attraction to the job (working with kiddos) and having an impact, the benefits, and the workplace conditions that are going to matter. This is what the union has negotiating power over.
     
  29. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Law of supply and demand. That’s why brain surgeons make so much because very few people can do it, unlike Joe Schmoe down at the coffee shop who makes minimum wage. Very few people can teach math and physics effectively compared to the other disciplines out there, so harder positions to fill should result in higher pay.

    At my private school, the newly hired physics teacher was given an additional $6,000 on top of his starting pay because he asked for it and because we were desperate for a qualified AP Physics 1 and 2 teacher. Some other teachers grumbled about this, but their positions are easily replaced. Why should they get paid the same?
     
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  30. jadorelafrance

    jadorelafrance Cohort

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    I guess but I still don’t think giving slightly more pay is going to help. $6,000 is a lot for a teacher, but it’s not going to attract an actuary making over 100K (or whatever they make). Having good working conditions, happy and caring stuff (towards one another), and collaboration is most attractive. I would think. Do we all want to be competing against each other for pay? That’s really not what teaching is about. Plus 6K is a nice signing incentive (and may be helpful in attracting someone to your school over other schools), but it’s overall pay growth and top pay that’s going to be the most important. Like I can start making 60K somewhere but what good is that if I don’t get a raise for 5 years (or $200 increments)?

    I don’t know. This isn’t the private sector. Teaching is a public profession and just is a totally different ballgame. Two teachers starting off doing the same job should be offered the same salary, despite “supply and demand”. That’s just my opinion.
     
  31. urban teacher

    urban teacher Rookie

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    Adding to how unions do impact students, my first year in GA where there are no unions, I taught medically fragile students. The room leaked and had mold. My principal did nothing except take out the rug.
    I know from CA that if I had a union to call, we would have been moved.
    Those of you who dislike unions have never had an experience with bad administration with no recourse. My worst principal in CA was never like the principal in GA.
     
  32. jadorelafrance

    jadorelafrance Cohort

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    This is coming from someone also in a hard to fill position (that actually would be “higher paid” in this particular district). And I think language skills are harder to obtain then a general
    Education degree.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2018
  33. jadorelafrance

    jadorelafrance Cohort

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    Brain surgeons are also higher paid because of the nature of their job. It is much riskier (and they probably pay higher malpractice insurance) and very difficult (any wrong flick of the hand could cause permanent brain damage or death).
     
  34. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    You have the right to your opinion — you’re entitled to it and you raised some valid points. But just because a position is in the public sector should not negate someone’s ability to negotiate a higher wage themselves.

    Secondly, the new physics teacher started out on step 8 instead of step 4, in addition to receiving the $6,000 signing bonus. I wish I knew I could have done that when I started — I still negotiated for a higher wage by several thousand, but I didn’t think to ask to start out on a higher step. (Though, I’m still making more than him because I have a Masters + 15 and he only has his BS, so I’m farthest on the salary schedule.) And you know what, he deserves it because he’s an amazing teacher and really knows his craft. Just like I’m a really good math teacher and really know my craft. I’m compensated very well by my employer, as are my colleagues, and I feel very appreciated every single day I go to work. I even floated the idea of my looking into working at public schools last year and the principal got a $5,000 bonus check approved by the school board so that I would stay. (I was only testing the waters, but it worked to my advantage.)

    That’s the way it should be! Your salary shouldn’t be left to the whims of someone else. If you have proven your worth in terms of performance and positive student outcomes, then you should reap the rewards.
     
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  35. jadorelafrance

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    I’m very happy for your position at your school and I think you’re in a great situation and if all private schools were like that, everyone would be flocking towards private schools. However what I’ve seen and read, most private schools have low pay (or lower than public schools) and those who I know that work or have worked in private schools got out or are trying to get out. And those that stay don’t worry about pay.It’s unfortunate and I don’t think unions going away is going to help anyone (when there’s so much at stake). Again just my opinion and I understand everyone’s situation and viewpoints are different.
     
  36. jadorelafrance

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    Also in many public schools you can also negotiate a higher step. That is not unique to your school.
     
  37. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    Back to the OP. The Janus case is about diminishing the power of the union to negotiate compensation and working conditions for teachers. Unions, for all their faults, have given our country a middle class. I see the powers who want to destroy unions as working against the idea of a middle class.
     
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  38. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    At the start, unions were very helpful, but I've seen unions push so hard that they actually destroyed jobs and whole industries in certain areas. Granted they were private sector. You can't kill a public sector job other than by getting people to turn against it.

    Unions collect dues so they are expected to produce something. Since they collect a percentage of income, it is in their best interest to focus on pay rather than other issues. Plus, who would want to pay a large amount every year to an organization that doesn't do anything for you. This puts unions in a position of contention rather than in a position to work for the good of all (including students).
     
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  39. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Funny, unions don't often tell members that.
     
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  40. jadorelafrance

    jadorelafrance Cohort

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    Also the fact that’s you even have a salary guide based on years and education means it’s thanks to the unions.
     
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