Most Teachers Oppose Mandatory Union Fees

A national education journal, EducationNext, has just released results of its annual poll asking a number of education-related questions. One question has particular relevance now because this happens to be National Employee Freedom Week, a nationwide campaign offering an unparalleled focus on the freedoms union employees have to opt out of union membership.

The EducationNext poll asked people in general, parents, and teachers, among other demographic groups, how they feel about mandatory union fees. Here is the exact question asked in the poll:

Some say that all teachers should have to contribute to the union because they all get the pay and benefits the union negotiates with the school board. Others say teachers should have the freedom to choose whether or not to pay the union. Do you support or oppose requiring all teachers to pay these fees even if they do not join the union?

Only 34 percent of the general public supports such mandatory union fees, while 43 percent oppose them.

Only 31 percent of parents support such fees, while 47 percent oppose them.

Most surprising of all, only 38 percent of public school teachers support mandatory union fees, while 50 percent oppose them. As a Reason.com “Hit & Run” blog post notes, “It’s not just non-unionized teachers who think this; unionized teachers made up almost half the sample, and only 52 percent of them said agency fees should be mandatory.”

One public school teacher who opposes mandatory fees could be instrumental in seeing them banned not only for all teachers, but for all public employees across America. California teacher Rebecca Friedrichs has filed a lawsuit against the California Teachers Association, arguing that mandatory fees violate her Constitutional First Amendment rights of free speech and free association. The U.S. Supreme Court recently agreed to hear her case, with a decision likely by next June.

While the Court ruled in 1988 that no one must join a union or pay the political portion of union dues, many workers are still required to pay so-called “fair share” non-political union fees for services such as collective bargaining. Now the Court will take up the argument that at least in the public employment setting, all union activities can legitimately be considered political.

Rebecca Friedrichs says, “It’s time to set aside this union name calling and all this fear mongering and let’s put America and her children first, and let’s put the rights of individuals above the rights of these powerful unions.”

It is clearly time to put individual rights above those of the powerful unions, and now we know that even most teachers agree.

How to Turn Oregon’s Business Climate Around

Two recent reports confirm that Oregon has a long way to go if it wants to be seen as a business-friendly state.

 

Earlier this month, Chief Executive magazine released its latest survey of 550 CEO’s. They were asked to rank states for their business environment based on a wide range of criteria, including taxation, regulation, workforce and quality of living. Oregon came in at a disappointing number 33. The top five states, in order, were Texas, North Carolina, Florida, Tennessee and Georgia.

 

Last week, the co-authors of “Rich States, Poor States,” which ranks every state’s economic competitiveness, reported in the Wall Street Journal that two of the 15 policies they look at “have consistently stood out as the most important in predicting where jobs will be created and incomes will rise. First, states with no income tax generally outperform high income tax states. Second, states that have right-to-work laws grow faster than states with forced unionism.”

 
Authors Arthur Laffer and Stephen Moore further noted that “between 2000 and 2008, 4.8 million Americans moved from forced union states to right-to-work states—that’s one person every minute of every day.”

Oregon doesn’t have either of these two most important business-friendly policies. Not only do we have an income tax, but it’s the highest in the country at 11 percent right now. And, we allow forced unionization.

 

Oregonians, and their elected representatives who are looking for ways to improve our business climate and create jobs, need look no further than these two policies. Eliminate our income tax and end forced unionism, and watch Oregon grow.