Union Question / Story

Discussion in 'General Education' started by mariecurie, Oct 10, 2013.

  1. mariecurie

    mariecurie Companion

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    poof
     
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  3. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    Oct 10, 2013

    Do you have a union rep in your building? If so, have that person bring up your concerns in a union meeting. That's the job of the rep, or attend a meeting yourself. The union is as good as the participants. Participate and make it better.
     
  4. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Your union is asking you to wear specific colors in a show of solidarity. Are you in contract negotiations?

    I don't think you should be shunned for not wanting to go along with your union's wardrobe requests, but I also think you should recognize that the union exists to support and protect you (at least in theory ;) ) so its calls for solidarity are to serve that purpose.
     
  5. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    I, personally, would wear what I wanted and just try to ignore any reactions I got from my colleagues. I also work in a district with a VERY strong/influential union - which I appreciate - but I wear what I want. Period.

    During our last contract negotiation, the Union sent an email asking us to wear a certain color, but only on the days we were voting for the contract, to show solidarity. This initiative came solely from the Union and was not something people were all that concerned with at the school-level. Just like the Union asks us to participate in/vote for/support a lot of things; these things tend not to be a big deal at the school-level.

    Now, I do remember during 2008 and President Obama's first election, our Union emailed us practically everyday asking us to wear Pro-Obama buttons or t-shirts (that they handed out/sold at PDs and school functions) and join them in D.C. for a rally to support Obama. Now this situation - being anti-Obama - was a much bigger deal at the school level-because Baltimore is a Democratic stronghold. You could (would) get you shunned if you spoke out in favor of McCain.
     
  6. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    Random question- for people in states with unions, are you REQUIRED to be a part of these unions? Can you opt out?
     
  7. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    The last thing I need is someone else telling me what to do...sheesh.
     
  8. BookReader813

    BookReader813 Companion

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    Where I live, you CAN opt out of the union. However, you will have to pay what they call your "fair share." In essence, union dues are still taken out of your paycheck, and you do not reap any of the benefits of a union.

    And to answer the OP, I would wear what my administrator tells me to wear (if he/she requests a certain dress on a specific day) over the union representative. After all, the principal is the one who hired me, not the union. ;)
     
  9. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Do you follow the same payscale and benefits package if you aren't in the union? Then... you benefit from them. You don't get the legal help, etc., but you are still represented by the union since they still engage in collective bargaining on your behalf. Plus, I'm assuming they take out approximately half of what they would normally take out (because you ARE benefiting from them).

    After spending three years in a "right-to-work" state, I'm not going to lie... I love my job, but not being part of a real union kind of stinks.
     
  10. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I think it's easy to wear a colored shirt with your jeans of choice. Your union is negotiating your salary, work conditions, benefits....wearing a blue shirt in return isn't asking too much.:2cents: and YES, it does make a difference.
     
  11. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I would wear it. It's so easy. It's not like they're saying a zebra striped tank top. I'd imagine most have some sort of blue shirt. It does show unity and that does matter.
     
  12. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    In my district, you can choose to not join the union, but a percentage of the dues will still come out of your pay because your contract is negotiated through the union. I know of only one person in 15 years who chose to not e in the union. He lost his job for cause (if rumors are even alf true I hope he's not teaching anywhere) and the union did nothing to support him.
     
  13. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

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    this. I am getting into teaching later in life. I have spent most of my adult life in private industry. I have worked professionally (sp?) in 4 states. I cannot shake the belief that unions are for the unmotivated and disinterested.
     
  14. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    This is definitely not true in my area.
     
  15. Ms.SLS

    Ms.SLS Cohort

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    In an interesting position at my former school, the administration was actively AGAINST people in the union and if you showed open union loyalty, you were fired or transferred. This was all done underhandedly of course, so no recourse could be taken.

    Since then, I am wary to actively participate in ANYTHING
     
  16. geoteacher

    geoteacher Habitué

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    Oct 10, 2013

    As a union member who is neither unmotivated nor disinterested, I would caution you against making generalizations. Unions can be the only protection that some have against unfair or questionable working conditions or practices.

    OP, I would also suggest that you talk to your union rep about the suggested level of participation since you say you are a new teacher. When I was still a probationary teacher, my union was involved in negotiations. I was advised that, because of my employment status, I should not participate.
     
  17. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Mine either. I'm a conservative Republican. I don't buy into the recommended politics of my association, but I'm a proudly elected member of my union.these are tough times...even for the most professional, motivated and energetic educators. We can all use the support of our colleagues. Join together or....
     
  18. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Ask teachers in North Carolina if they'd agree with you on this.
     
  19. mariecurie

    mariecurie Companion

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    poof
     
  20. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    No. My union is there to protect us from the students, their parents and shady Admin.
     
  21. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    Sorry, didn't intend to start anything. I just didn't know how it worked because I have always work in a right-to-work state. I think that's always colored my thoughts about unions, too, but then I must work for a great administration so I haven't see many negative effects from not having one.
     
  22. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I agree. Any organization that would be vindictive or cold-shouldered because you don't participate in their identification of the week requirement can't be trusted. It says a lot about character if a group would treat you as an outcast and make your life difficult if you don't "dress like your friends". It reminds me much of middle school girls and their cliques. Not something that adults should emulate.

    It makes me sad that some would complain on one hand about poor treatment from admin, parents, students, but turn on a member because he or she didn't wear the shirt of the week. It seems more like brainwashing and bullying to me.
     
  23. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Oct 10, 2013

    They WILL protect you.
    Shirts DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE. It's a small action that makes a BIG impression...take it from those of us who know.
    I'm not understanding why your need to wear a favorite shirt with your jeans on a Friday trumps showing support for those willing to give up hours and hours and hours of personal, non- contracted time to protect your working conditions. Seems like a small price to pay.:2cents:
     
  24. mariecurie

    mariecurie Companion

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    poof
     
  25. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Get scarves in tbe requested colors to wear over your maternity clothes. Your union will protect you....and as a non tenured pregnant teacher, please know there are districts that don't look at those in your 'condition' in the most positive way...be thankful you have a union.
     
  26. creativemonster

    creativemonster Comrade

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    Oct 10, 2013

    For those of you who are union members and you aren't sure what "they" do - you are the union. Go to meetings - or even a meeting - one. Unions are the members. In our current times unions are super important. Even for those of us lucky enough to have great administrators, unions are partners, not enemies of these great administrators. seriously - go to the meetings. learn about how you can be an active member.
     
  27. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    my current union stinks!!!! But at my last school our union was strong...we weren't required to join, but really? Without them we wouldn't have contract hours, pay scale higher than anyone in the county, safer rooms, perks, and other items. Wearing a shirt once in a while is no big deal. As a person that sat on a committee for pay and perks, it is hours and hours that I work for others. Wearing a shirt to support me and my peers is minor.
     
  28. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    In California it is legally required unless you withdraw on religious grounds which is almost impossible to prove.

    In response to the above, I only follow that same payscale because I am not legally allowed to negotiate my own contract due to state laws coddling union labor. And it isn't half, they keep over 75% of my dues despite the fact that I'm not even in the union.

    So no, I'm not wearing blue.
     
  29. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    Oct 11, 2013

    The wearing of the union colors supports the union because the districts administration takes notice of how many members actively participate in things. If the union requests members to wear shirts on a certain day and many people don't it is noticed and it negatively impacts the contract negotiations. Even if you are not a terribly active member, poor contract negotiations negatively effects you.

    Also if the admin at your school is anti-union it is easier for them to attack the more active union members and weakening your rep if they see some members not participating in things like wear the shirts day. A divide and conquer mentality that is more easily used when it looks like the staff is divided.
     
  30. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    And you think that you, an individual, would manage to get a better contract through your own negotiation? You'll have to forgive me if I'm a bit skeptical about that. But hey, North Carolina's always hiring if you want to get away from unions.
     
  31. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    If there was no Union protection, I'm sure there would be far fewer teachers in many of these difficult/problematic districts like where I work. No one in their right mind would work in my district without union protection.
     
  32. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    Fair share people get all the benefits of the union (contract, salary, insurance, etc), you just can't vote in union elections. When I was association president I spent more time the first year helping a fair share member, than the other 550 members combined.

    I don't believe the principal can tell you what to wear, either.
     
  33. dave1mo

    dave1mo Comrade

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    I don't pay a fair share because I don't WANT to be part of the union; I don't want them to negotiate my pay school and benefits package. I'm a big boy, and I don't think it's unreasonable to be allowed to negotiate my own compensation. It's unfortunate that the union has a monopoly on this right and that, as a result, I'm not allowed to do so.
     
  34. dave1mo

    dave1mo Comrade

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    My ability to go get another job in the marketplace is the only protection I need against unfair or questionable working conditions.
     
  35. dave1mo

    dave1mo Comrade

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    And get in the way of student achievement when it doesn't benefit the teachers...
     
  36. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    So go to a private school. Go to a charter school. Go to a right-to-work state. If you consider the conditions at your employer to be unreasonable, then find a different employer.
     
  37. mariecurie

    mariecurie Companion

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    poof
     
  38. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Oct 11, 2013

    My school is in a union and while they don't force us to wear certain things they did give us a shirt to wear in "support" of the union. We can wear it whenever we want but I think once last year they asked us to wear it on a particular day. It was a free shirt given to us so I had no problem wearing it that day and I still wear it on occasion (like when I'm running late and have no clean or ironed clothes)!!!
     
  39. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Devotee

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    There are times when I'm glad the ESC I work for hasn't unionized. I really wouldn't appreciate the "wear this shirt on this day" sort of thing. Seems juvenile, but that is just me.
     
  40. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    That is perhaps the absolute most ironic statement that a union supporter could possibly make.

    And yes, I believe that were I to negotiate my own contract I would be the best paid teacher in my district. Instead, I make roughly 70% of those who are at the top of the scale who have gotten there by showing up for 21 years - and this after working 11 years.
     
  41. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    I will not debate unions other than to say that unions are to thank for the 40 hour work week, vacation time, and safe working conditions. Back when union membership was high in this country, we had FAR less income disparity. As union membership erodes, the middle class shrinks and the chasm between the wealthy and everyone else grows exponentially. My husband is considering leaving his unionized job for a non-union position. The problem is that it pays 1/2 the salary for the exact same work. That is sad. The reason he's considering leaving is because the union is lacking work because there are so many non-union organizations with employees working for dirt cheap. It puzzles me how certain some of you are that you'd be so better off without a union. I think you should have a long conversation with a non-union member and see if you would actually be as well off as you expect.


    Also, what is the big deal about wearing a shirt color? I wear red on heart health day, pink on Valentine's Day, green and red before xmas (and I'm not even Christian), green on St. Patty's, etc., etc., etc. If my union wants me to wear blue on a Friday to show my support, I really have no problem with it. And BTW - my union tells non-tenured teachers not to participate in these kinds of things if they don't feel comfortable. No one shuns anyone.

    ETA - We have school spirit day once a month and I dutifully wear my school shirts that I paid for. On "sports" day, I wear my Mets jersey, and I'll be wearing my witch costume on Halloween. I'll even wear a pilgrim hat on Thanksgiving. It never occured to me to mind.
     

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