Agency Fee Payers

May 30, 2017 by

When a union has its members back, it deserves their dues up front. Yet a small number of teachers have never signed up.  Even if the percentage is not statistically insignificant, it is disturbing, because  during these turbulent times when public education is under merciless and sustained attack on many fronts, all of them lavishly armed with the weapon of money and political influence, every penny from every member counts.

Only a tiny number of the infinitesimal sum of non-members are known to decline membership on ideological grounds. You could probably seat them all at a single medium-sized table at a diner. Others have simply never gotten around to joining or have blithely coasted along, oblivious to its advantages even while drawing strength from the union’s visible and invisible presence every day.

When everything is going smoothly, individual teachers may be just as unaware and yet dependent on the union as they are on their livers or other vital organ. It’s just something one necessarily thinks about.

But whether their motives are innocent or not, of even if they have no motive, the fact that they are not union members plays into the hands of the enemies of public education and their own rights. They are realize it or not, they are dupes and pawns of the lobbyists for privatization.

Whether they are being wilful or clueless, their non-participation makes them,by default, partisans of their own antagonists.

Non-union teachers are usually not anti-union teachers. But by not paying union dues, they are both short-changing the union but their impoverishing their treasury of rights.They  are called “agency fee payers”.

They are enriched by a nearly full complement of union benefits and protections, including representation in disciplinary proceedings. And an amount equal to the union dues they’re not paying is automatically deducted from their paycheck anyway, although the union never sees it.

When the public schools and their unions of professionals are riding out a storm, there can be no free-riders. We are in the grip of a tempest fostered in part by the US Department of Education itself. There can be no slackers in war.

Under the leadership of teacher unions, every teacher belongs on the battlefield. They must not wait to be drafted. They must enlist right now. With their passion. Their time. And with their union dues.

Ron Isaac

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