Responsibilities of Unions

I was browsing through my Google Reader this Thanksgiving weekend and came across this blog post. I’ll sum it up here: The blogger is a teacher in California and is required to pay union dues into the California Teachers Association even though he isn’t a member! Every year, he requests a rebate on any of his union dues that were not used for union organizing. He paid over $1000 in dues last year and got $358.20 refunded!

I have to applaud Darren for actually jumping through all the hoops to get his money refunded. They certainly don’t make it easy to get your own money back!

What I’m wondering is what all this money is spent on if not union organizing? I looked at the NEA-National Education Association-since this organization is certainly the biggest one.

It was difficult to find any information on the NEA website related to finances. However, it seems that state affiliates are responsible for a lot of work. NEA states that state affiliates regularly lobby legislators for the resources schools need, campaign for higher professional standards for the teaching profession, and file legal actions to protect academic freedom and the rights of school employees. Clearly, this work requires paid professionals to work on behalf of the schools and students. However, this is money not spent on union activities.

I don’t think any teacher would argue with an organization that is willing to fight for what is fair and just for students and schools. However, should these fights be fought with the hard-earned dollars of the nation’s teachers?

Let me know what you think in the comments below.


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