Quitting the Union next year

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Guitart, May 2, 2022.

  1. Guitart

    Guitart Comrade

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    May 2, 2022

    I came from the private sector. I know what it is like to be an at-will employee. I have also worked side-by-side with union guys. I saw how the steel workers union sticks up for these guys. When I switched careers to become a teacher, I was cool with joining the union. I wanted someone in my corner and never wanted to experience getting fired again for bs reasons.

    I have been a union member all my teaching career. Locally, I have only heard stories of teachers let go and union was no help. The only positive stories I have heard was like someone who saved $2000 on a new car purchase. The NEA floods me with worthless emails about exotic vacations a poor teacher cannot afford and political stuff I don't care about. The insurance is also a joke. In big cities, the stories of union teachers sound like spoiled rotten kids. All this leads me to think, "What good is being a member?" Nothing they offer currently helps me and it doesn't sound like they could ever help me when I need it the most. I think next year I'm done giving them my money. I'm also done with their waste of paper in my mailbox and deleting their endless emails.

    How many of you here are a member of your local teacher's union? Got any experience where the union was a REAL help and saved your career/job?
     
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  3. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    May 2, 2022

    We did not have an official union until the past year. I joined, and I quickly realized that unless you are in one of the big three districts, they don’t have time for you.
     
  4. creativemonster

    creativemonster Cohort

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    May 2, 2022

    I am a union member in a union district and currently in a school that has some "exemptions." For years I didn't really think too much about it- We traded certain protections for certain freedoms that just couldn't happen under our union contract. (I actually don't believe this anymore, but that's what it is) This year new admin is ...very (very) anti union. This is a view I have never worked under before. It makes for a stressful teaching learning environment. I am realizing that one individual Principal can really do damage if there aren't protections in place. I am leaving a school I absolutely love to be at a school that has a bit more protections.
    It is a personal and a political decision. And although when a union has more members, it grows stronger, and with members leaving, a union loses strength. BUT - It is YOUR decision. May you NEVER regret your decision of leaving union. At worst, I think of my union as a type of insurance. Will I still have losses in a natural disaster? Yeah. But with insurance, hopefully it won't be as devastating.
    May none of us ever need our various insurances!
     
  5. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    May 3, 2022

    Your union needs support of its members. Admin watches.

    As a long time union (Associations in my area) President I helped represent members who kept their jobs, and made sure that teachers who were going to lose their jobs (drug use at school, mistreatment of students) received their due process prior to termination or resignation.
    Unions help make working conditions better for staff, which makes learning conditions better for students. Look into working conditions in a non union state; I believe that will make the reason for unions even clearer.
    I, too, worked in the private sector prior to teaching, so I hear what you are thinking, but disagree with your conclusion.
    It only takes one petty principal to make your life hell.
     
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  6. kfhsdramaqueen

    kfhsdramaqueen Rookie

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    May 4, 2022

    I have worked in both a union and a non-union state. I am currently in a non-union state. I worked in NY, with one of the strongest unions. It was no better than where I have been since. The union did not help me when a student keyed my car. I worked in an unairconditioned closet my first year. A student assaulted a teacher in my building by throwing a desk at them--nothing was done--the union said it was out of their hands. We had a teacher who came to school drunk quite often, and the union protected her, even though she was endangering students. The principal was a bully, but the union rep was his best bud.
    I believe there was a time for unions, but I believe that time has passed. In this non-union state, I was accused of something I did not do. Even without a union, I was still given due process. I was allowed to speak my case and present evidence--I kept my job. Admin is what makes working conditions, and even in a union state, a bad admin will find a way around it.

    Unions try to scare you that you will lose all your protections unless you have them. In my state, we have tenure. In the several districts I have been in, all in this state, teachers that have been let go have been let go for good reason. We have planning periods. Yes, our classes can be large, but they were in NY too.

    I believe, in most cases, if you are doing what you're supposed to be doing, the union is only taking your money.
     
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  7. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    May 4, 2022

    The first district I worked in had a poorly run union and it soured me on union membership.

    The third district had a high quality, professional union that worked hard to benefit union members. I became involved in it and realized that a union is as good as the teachers who become involved. If you are dissatisfied with your union, perhaps you should become a union rep at your building and speak up at meetings to make it a better union.

    Also, unions do not protect weak and lazy teachers, they protect all teachers' access to due process. I watched a member of our union executive board get fired by an excellent principal who followed due process. We all wanted her fired, as she suffered from early onset dementia and was a terrible teacher. All the union did was to make sure the principal followed the rules.
     
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  8. Guitart

    Guitart Comrade

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    May 4, 2022

    Personally I like our union and the members. They are good at getting us the best contract. Like others, I would still benefit from that contract even if I was not in the union. I mentioned, I have only heard stories of teachers let go and union was no help. I can think of a couple examples where the union helped a grievance and the employee kept the job, but they still resigned due to "discomfort".

    I must say, I REALLY do not like giving my money to NEA. Their "deals" are worthless and they should be ashamed of all the emails and junk paper mail they send. If environmentalists knew how much paper they wasted, the NEA would be at the top of their hit list. I have called them to ask them why they continue sending me notices to "sign up before it's too late" for insurance I already have. Their answer: "Everyone gets the same mail regardless if you are already covered or not." Well, ain't that rich.
     
  9. CaliforniaRPCV

    CaliforniaRPCV Comrade

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    May 4, 2022

    Maybe that is their worth. You might be able to cut the waste through greater participation rather than quiting and weakening the union's bargaining position.
     
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  10. Caballo21

    Caballo21 Rookie

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    May 6, 2022

    I also came from the private sector, taught private for 12 years. This is my first year in a union. While I don't agree with everything they do, they negotiate our pay rate. For this reason alone I wouldn't quit. I was on the other side for a long time making way less, and I am grateful for their hard work.
     
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  11. Caballo21

    Caballo21 Rookie

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    May 6, 2022

    You CAN apply for teacher development grants and other programs through the NEA - I just saw a post from someone going to Peru on the grant. I applied for the global learning fellowship. Will find out this summer!
     

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