Teachers Union

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Drama Teach, Aug 11, 2010.

  1. Drama Teach

    Drama Teach Rookie

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    What are everyone's thoughts about joining the teachers union? It is $50 a month here and that seems like a lot. Is it worth it?
     
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  3. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I was a member for a couple of years. The $50 per month was too much when I needed money for a college student and a disabled son. Besides, the union in our district is completely ineffective and I felt like I was wasting my money.
     
  4. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    In Fl, it really depends on your county. Talk to some of the teachers at your school to see how they feel about your union.

    Keep this in mind: $50 a month is a lot if nothing ever happens. But if something DOES happen, it's worth every penny. If your union is good, anyway.
     
  5. jday129

    jday129 Comrade

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    In Ohio, even if you are not a union member you still need to pay dues. It's called Fair Share, or something like that. Ours is almost double what you are paying.
     
  6. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    DE also has fair share. Non union members benefit from the work of the union even if they aren't members, so they have to pay part of the dues.

    I was pretty active in the union in DE and I was a PAL (political action leader). But at my new school, I feel like the union is completely ineffectual. I joined on as a building rep this year so we will see what happens. But I DO feel like it is a waste of money here.

    Just remember they are probably negotiating your contract for you and like someone else said, if something bad ever happens, like you lose your job or get accused of something stupid, they will help you with lawyers and what not.
     
  7. MissJill

    MissJill Cohort

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    I would love to just pay $50/month.
    Mine is over $1100 for the year and we have to join.
     
  8. janlee

    janlee Devotee

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    I pay approximately $2100 a year for local, state, and national and it is worth every penny. Several of my colleagues have had major issues with parents and without the help and backing of the unions they would have been in serious trouble if they had had to go it alone.
     
  9. diana

    diana Rookie

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    $50 a month is inexpensive, if you ask me. I've been in three different unions and I believe the cheapest was around $50 a month--but I was only making minimum wage and working part time then (over 10 years ago).

    Is the union you're considering joining a strong one? If it is (or has potential), then I'd go for it. Having a good union on your side is worth its weight in gold when a situation arises.
     
  10. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    I debated before joining one of our two local teachers' unions, and I'm so glad I did! Not only does my local union offer free PD classes, but I was saved from an impossible situation when my union's president threatened to call the police if a specific child was not removed from my classroom. I had been hit, bitten, spit at, cursed, had desks and books thrown at me, this child climbed an 8-foot fence during recess, ran around the class throwing things and taking things from other students, and generally terrorizing the entire class. This was my first year teaching, and the administration at this school did NOTHING except criticize me. I was offered no help, no backup, nothing. Thank God I joined our union!

    Oh,and I guess we are really fortunate - it's only $40/month here!
     
  11. Bumble

    Bumble Groupie

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    I would be careful about not joining a union because if any child says you did something inappropriate, then the union won't back you if you're not a member. Also, my dental insurance is through my union. I get legal services through my union so I don't need to purchase teacher's insurance. In the long run, I think it is way cheaper to join the union than not join the union. At least in my case it is.

    We get free professional development sessions. Also, I lost almost 3/4 of preps this year. I called the union and it was rectified right away. I'm a real straight forward person so don't take offense, but in this day and age it would be really silly not to join the union.
     
  12. jd019

    jd019 Companion

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    Mine was $80 a month and you had to join. I know the union helped to negotiate health care and salary but as a teacher that was laid off twice due to low seniority I never felt like the union helped me one bit.
     
  13. Drama Teach

    Drama Teach Rookie

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    How do you find out of the union is effective? Should I just talk to the teachers at my school?
     
  14. midwestteacher

    midwestteacher Cohort

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    We don't have teacher's unions in Missouri.
     
  15. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    When I taught I don't really remember having a choice in the matter.

    I was disappointed with my union. I was pg & no one could tell me what my time off was or how it worked...not in the handbook either. It was crazy. I'm sure the president was just sick of me..luckily she liked me!!! LOL!!!
     
  16. DaleJr88AmpFan

    DaleJr88AmpFan Cohort

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    I am a firm believer in joining... just in case. The union needs to represent you and also offers you that liability insurance that IMO is well worth it.

    We have had a couple of instances for both teachers & paras who did not join and had issues of one sort or another. Both wanted representation... neither got it!

    Our dues are more like $80/mo for both State and Local. I am willing to pay it for the peace of mind.
     
  17. NJArt

    NJArt Comrade

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    My union is about $100/month. I would join it even if it were double that. The union in NJ is very strong and will always back up the teachers. You never know when a kid or parent will try to accuse you of something you didn't do, or if administration tries to mess around with you or do something outside the contract. We had a situation just a few years ago at my school of a student saying that a teacher did something inappropriate. Didn't happen (kid was mad because he got in trouble), and the union lawyers made sure this teacher was protected. You would be asking for trouble NOT joining. It's like having insurance.
     
  18. janlee

    janlee Devotee

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    My union has access to the seniority list and makes sure that it is correct by reviewing it each year with the teacher's and SRP's. My union makes sure that if someone is let go due to cutbacks the list if followed. The seniority list is there in order to protect all teachers. If you are the last one hired on the list and a person in your area needs to be let go you will be the one to go.
     
  19. dovian

    dovian Comrade

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    We don't have a choice, but it would be almost impossible not to be a member anyway because all of our health benefits are through the union, and our professional contract as well.
     
  20. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Does anyone know if union dues are based on general salaries? I notice that a lot of the posters with large dues make quite a bit more than we do in FL.
     
  21. cmorris

    cmorris Comrade

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    No unions here, but I would join in a heartbeat.
     
  22. janlee

    janlee Devotee

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    My local dues are decided by my local union. State and national union dues are set by said organizations.
     
  23. Bumble

    Bumble Groupie

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    I pay $38/month and our starting salary is $42,000.
     
  24. midwestteacher

    midwestteacher Cohort

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    Wow, our starting salary is in the low 30's. Not sure of the exact amount because I haven't seen a schedule in a while.
     
  25. Bumble

    Bumble Groupie

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    $42,000 is nothing. We should be getting at least $50,000, but that is a whole different story. I can't imagine surviving on $30,000. It is a slap in the face. We are professionals and should be treated as professionals.
     
  26. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    If you had the joy of living in California you could quit your union and still have to pay dues of $70/month like me. Understand that a huge chunk of your dues will go to political causes that you have no say in.

    There are plenty of professional teaching organizations that offer liability coverage at much better rates than you'll find in a union. I get my coverage for $130 a year versus the $100 a month my union charges to full members.
     
  27. applecore

    applecore Devotee

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    I agree...check in all the details before you sign.

    We have a choice.

    Ours is based on years in the district. Of which I can't quite wrap my head around that reasoning since when does an incident depend on how much experience you have? A kick in the chins by a kid no matter how many years you have is still a kick in the chins. A cut in your hours is still a cut in your hours no matter how many years you got in the pool.


    Yep. Idaho just lowered first year teacher to below $30,000.
     
  28. miatorres

    miatorres Comrade

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    I too had that happen to me and the union helped me! While some teachers I know are anti-union, it's because they were never put in a situation where the students were assaulting them and the administration blamed the teacher when the teacher did nothing wrong.

    Therefore, I strongly recommend that you join the union because not only could this above described situation happen to you, but some administration personnel could try to force you out so that their relative or friend could have your job!:mad:
     
  29. teacher333

    teacher333 Devotee

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    Wow, $50/month. Ours gets us for about $1,000/year! And even if you choose not to join, they are still going to take 80% of the dues from you.
     
  30. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    Like some others said, in NJ, even if you don't join (which I didn't even really know was an option in my district until recently), you still pay up to 85% of the dues. In my opinion, it is totally worth it to join. I am currently a building rep and love it. Our local is strong and so is our state union. Yes, its been a lot of money to be part of the union for the last 7 years, but with all of the issues I've had with former P's as well as medical issues, the union has done nothing but supported me and been helpful.

    Its great to pay and never need the union, but when you need it...its invaluable to have it.
     
  31. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    In Ontario, teachers in public elementary, public high school, or in the separate (Catholic) school systems must belong to their local teachers' federation. All of our secretaries, caretakers, and teaching assistants are also union members. Our federation is very strong and have initiated a lot of changes in our contracts and working conditions over the past many years. In addition to contracts and teacher support, they are also instrumental in organizing and delivering wonderful PD--I just returned from a 2-day workshop which cost $45, and where I received well over $100 worth of materials that I can use in my classroom.
     
  32. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Devotee

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    I work for an ESC and there we have no union. Personally, I'm glad--I've only ever seen negatives at my previous job when we had one.

    Don't get me wrong, I know they can be hugely beneficial at times--but I'd rather not have to deal with them.
     
  33. Genmai

    Genmai Companion

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    Teachers are held responsible for more and more things beyond our control, and teachers are becoming more and more vulnerable to an ever increasing list of potential troubles. Normally, a teacher won't have any serious problems. However, there are cases when a teacher gets embroiled in a very serious situation.

    For example: If a troubled child unjustly accuses you of abuse (not an uncommon situation), the union is the only one who will unconditionally back you. Do not assume that your supervisors will understand and defend you however nice and supportive they may seem.

    I'm a not a fan of a lot of things unions do: seniority rules that protect bad tenured teachers, provisions that indirect encourage bad habits in teachers, etc... But, I also still feel that unions are a necessary evil until our system improves teacher working conditions in reasonable ways. I think that you're foolish to not join your union.

    If the union doesn't watch your back, who will?

    :2cents:
     
  34. hawkteacher

    hawkteacher Comrade

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    At my previous job, I had no choice to join. At my current position, I do have a choice and I chose not to join the union. My current district is very stable. My principal is supportive and at this point in my life I just can't afford to spend the additional money. I would say about 50% of our staff belongs to the union. I also have real issues with my money getting tied up in politics that I might not necessarily agree with.
     
  35. TeacherApr

    TeacherApr Groupie

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    It's worth it if the state mandates it. That way you can all have a universal contract that can and will state specific things to protect you. If your state doesn't require it, there isn't much a union can provide for you....just legal assistance. I am in a state that is "a right to work state" which means you have the right to work without having to join a union. It's a huge mistake. We are not given ratio caps and there is nothing we can do about it. Even if the people that have joined the union make a fuss, there isn't anything that can be done. Because of this we have 30+ children in all grade levels and no aides.
     
  36. deserttrumpet

    deserttrumpet Comrade

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    You summed up my thoughts.
     
  37. teacher333

    teacher333 Devotee

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    And is it your Unions I read about in Forbes that invest your pension money into things like energy companies, hockey teams and vitamin manufacturers? I had read that it is one of the best kept Unions, and even though there has been some loss with some not so great investments, your pension fund is still pretty solid.
     
  38. love2teach

    love2teach Enthusiast

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    I wold join!
    My dues come right out of the paycheck, so I don't even miss the money!
     

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