Unions...love them/hate them, or just pay dues

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by Master Pre-K, Feb 22, 2008.

  1. nancy sv

    nancy sv Rookie

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    Feb 26, 2008

    I am not currently a member of the union, although I have been in the past. I just feel like the dues are outrageously high and I'm not sure I would get that much benefit out of it.

    And I'm also in agreement that the union does a certain amount of harm. One teacher my husband worked with years ago was terrible. I mean TERRIBLE. This guy really should have been weeded out the first week in teacher training - but somehow he made it through the whole process. It was so pathetic to see him in the classroom...

    Because he was so bad, and the union was protecting him so much, they ended up tranferring him to an exclusive school in the district (which is where my husband worked with him) where they offered all the VERY advanced classes - because there weren't many behavior problems there. Even in that setting, the guy was pathetic.

    The principal spent three years gathering documentation on how worthless this teacher was - but the union kept him in year after year. And of course, it was the kids who suffered.

    The principal finally ended up eliminating his job, which meant my husband and the other teachers had to take on the extra workload for a year before they could re-establish the position and hire someone good.

    What ended up happening to that pathetic teacher? He transferred to a middle school, and was eaten alive the first month of school and quit. He shouldn't have gone through years and years of dragging it all out.
     
  2. teacheratheart

    teacheratheart Companion

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    Feb 26, 2008

    Joining the union in AZ is optional but even if you join, there's not much the union can offer us. Our dues are a little over $400 a year, so $40 a paycheck for 10 paychecks. AZ is a right to work state, so no profession here really has "union" help. The reason I join though is for the insurance coverage. If a parent sued me, I would be so far up a creek without a paddle, I wouldn't know what to do. Which is what happened last year. Myself and another teacher thought a parent was going to sue us for something stupid their kid did. And our school rep was fabulous with helping us and if it would have gone farther, she would have made sure we had someone with us every step of the way. So, there were no questions in my mind when I came back this year about joining.
     
  3. blue-eyed mom

    blue-eyed mom Companion

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    Feb 26, 2008

    Count up how many kids suffered because of him...way too many!!
     
  4. blue-eyed mom

    blue-eyed mom Companion

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    Feb 26, 2008

    In my county the union tries to keep it hush-hush, but our board carries a huge policy on each teacher --something like a million and a half. But they scare people into joining by saying that's a big benefit.
     
  5. janlee

    janlee Devotee

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    Feb 26, 2008

    blue-eyed mom - I respect you for your opinions concerning this discussion. I would like to know what you would do if your union decided to strike. Being a non-union member, you would have to report for work. Would you have any qualms about crossing the line and if you did, what would be the reaction from those teachers in the union? Do you feel there would be any consequences for you down the line once the strike was settled?
     
  6. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Feb 26, 2008

    But if you personally are not covered by this type of policy. The school system/district/board is covered, and you as a teacher, but not if they sue YOU personally -- which happens all the time.
     
  7. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Feb 26, 2008

    which is why many folks have Pre-Paid Legal. automatically deducts from your paycheck, or checking account. when you get in a bind, call them, and they have free consultation, fee reduced, or do-it-yourself programs.

    http://wserver0.prepaidlegal.com/newCorp2/legal_plans/legal_plans.html

    considering signing up again...
     
  8. blue-eyed mom

    blue-eyed mom Companion

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    Feb 27, 2008

    Thanks janlee. I'm really a minority on this one, I know. That being said, I would have no qualms abut crossing and line to work. I teach because I love my job and the kids. Not every teacher in my building is with the union. Of those that are,very few are, only two are hugely pro union.

    What consequences? My P and VP aren't going to hold it against me that I came in and did the job I was contracted to do. My parents and kids aren't going to look down upon me because I came in and taught them.

    Hope that doesn't sound too harsh, but it's not something I lose sleep over.:)
     
  9. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    Feb 27, 2008

    I've marched in front of the administration building holding a sign, and I've signed petitions and gone to board meetings and protested all over the place, but when we were polled as to who was willing to strike? I said no. My place was with the students, not the disgruntled teachers who were willing to sacrifice the students for a buck.

    Besides, our union stunk. I hated it.
     
  10. blue-eyed mom

    blue-eyed mom Companion

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    Wow!! You said exactly what I was trying to...just oh so eloquently! Thanks! I couldn't agree more:clap::clap:
     
  11. jw13

    jw13 Groupie

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    I completely agree that a teachers place is with their students. What kind of bargaining powers do teachers have without union representation, ability to strike, Any ideas?
     
  12. GoehringTeaches

    GoehringTeaches Comrade

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    Feb 27, 2008

    We don't have unions in GA. We have professional associations. I belong because I thought it was the thing to do. Most teachers belong for one reason and one reason only. They paddle kids. If anything ever went wrong, the association would provide a lawyer. I don't personally paddle, so I'm not sure if its really worth the money every month. Basically, I pay a bunch of money to receive a magazine in the mail!
     
  13. jw13

    jw13 Groupie

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    I am just curious. How does your district bargain for a new contract? Do you have tenure teachers? What happens if there is a problem between teacher and administration?
     
  14. Bridiecakes

    Bridiecakes Companion

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    Feb 27, 2008

    I see many negatives associated with unions. I am a member only because I have to pay either way. I have been to a number or our union meetings and teachers only whine, complain, and trash talk the administration. I feel the time would be much better spent doing something for the students. I have also seen many teachers that are not good but are still there because they do the bare minimum required by the union. These are the teachers that show up right before the kids get to school and leave as soon as our contract says we can. These teachers do nothing beyond that. Some administrators are afraid of the union and don't say anything. I feel that if you do your job and do it well that you have nothing to worry about. In my opinion, the union makes it "ok" to do minimal work.
     
  15. blue-eyed mom

    blue-eyed mom Companion

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    [F]I think that's absolutely correct. It breeds mediocrity.[/FONT]
     
  16. janlee

    janlee Devotee

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    Feb 27, 2008

    Most discussion so far has dealt with your local union. Not only do I belong to my local, but I also belong to my state union as well as the NEA. IF you join the local you are in the other two. Dues are over $600 a year. I do feel that my state union, NYSUT, has done many things for the teachers in the state. They have fought and won pension improvements, fought for teaching service credit outside of the public classroom, and many other items that have benefited NY state teachers. Teachers in NY are placed in 1 of 4 tiers. Currently,all 4 tiers are not equal but the state is trying very hard to rectify it by lobbying the state representatives. They currently are working on the 25/55 law where teachers who have taught for 25 years can retire at age 55 with full benefits. It currently is available for only certain tiers. So yes, unions can be most helpful when you look at what lies at the end of your teaching career.
     
  17. blue-eyed mom

    blue-eyed mom Companion

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    But what other "professional" group has a retirement? Doctors, lawyers, dentists? No..mainly just union workers. Hence my argument. Are we union workers or professionals. Can't have it both ways.
     
  18. jw13

    jw13 Groupie

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    Didn't writers and directors just finish striking over compensation issues? I thought they were professionals. I don't understand where union involvement equals non-professional status.

    I will reiterate...can anyone give me alternatives to unions when it comes to bargaining, protection against retaliation, law suits, etc. I understand what people are saying about their bad experiences with their locals, but all I hear is complaining...I haven't heard anyone explain how it will/or does work outside of unions.
     
  19. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Feb 27, 2008

    From what I gather, CA and IL have mandatory teacher retirement programs, in which funds are automatically deducted from your check. If you decide to leave the teaching field, you can get a refund. If you come back, or work for some other recipocal state/municipal organization, you can bridge service and funds. The union offers long term plans, but what about short term? If you do not meet their vesting/tenure requirements..you just have money sitting there, and they can't help you do anything.

    So, I believe that if you have to pay dues, and be represented, and have services available to you, then you should be eligible and qualify for everything from day one..since they take out dues from the first check!

    Don't take out $40-60 from my check, only to have me booted out for not meeting probation, and you have my money and I have nothing. Yeah, like insurance...I paid for coverage. But as I see it, you can't even cover me..to stand up for me if I am not tenured.
     
  20. blue-eyed mom

    blue-eyed mom Companion

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    http://www.aaeteachers.org/pressroom_articles/NEAPartnershipwithAFL-CIO2-17-06.shtml

    I haven't researched this a lot...but it's not the union.

    Sadly, I don't know what will work other than unions...it's the only world we've know for far too long. In the perfect world, a dream, teachers would be paid much more because our job is incredibly important. We would be respected. The teaching profession would draw the best and brightest only; the process would be rigorous. Our schools would be cathedrals of learning. What a dream!

    I would respectfully have to disagree that all people have done is complain. Because I don't agree with the premise of the union isn't complaining...just me stating my opinion. If I were complaining, I'd be whining about all the people who are union. I didn't do that.

    Bad experiences tend to leave people with bad tastes for things. I think a lot of people have had negative experiences with unions. That's a fact..not complaining. I do think it's wrong for teachers to not have a choice about being a union member or not. I'm thankful Kentucky isn't like that.


    What realistic options are there? I don't know. Maybe not many --especially as long as there is not even an option for so many to not particpate in a union.

    Personally, I am enjoying the different views. It makes me think critically about my opinions. It also opens my eyes to many different situations out there; many that are really quite foreign to me.

    Just my :2cents: at the discounted rate.:)
     
  21. jw13

    jw13 Groupie

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    blue-eyed mom-I didn't mean to imply that ALL people were complaining. I completely agree with you that this is a great forum to hear peoples opinions/views. I to want to hear peoples various views. I guess what you were getting from me is the frustration in seeing SOME posters describe unions as basically useless and dents in their paycheck, YET have not expressed alternative ideas to support teachers without the benefit of a union. Don't mistake as being one-sided...I have seen the union be the greatest asset and worst enemy.
     
  22. jw13

    jw13 Groupie

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    Feb 27, 2008

    P.S. The Writer's and Director's Guild is a labor union.
     

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