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How teachers can boost their income

Posted: December 7, 2017 at 3:48 pm   /   by
Originally published on this site

Many educators are paying more than $1,000 to the Washington Education Association (WEA), but they resent the overcharges or disagree with political spending of the union.

The union’s ability to force people to buy their services is an extraordinary power, and the courts have already put some limits in place – specifically, workers cannot be forced to fund the union’s political and ideological activities.

With Supreme Court decisions like Hudson and Abood, teachers have won the right to pay a reduced amount to the union or to get a refund.

The WEA refunds between $250 and $350 to hundreds of teachers each year.

If you or someone you know resents the WEA overcharges and wants a refund, the Freedom Foundation has created a simple, automated form to opt out and request the refund.

Why do unions get to take money in the first place?

In RCW 41.59, the Washington State Legislature granted private organizations the ability to secure a monopoly franchise over workplace representation services for school district employees and to compel them to pay. The WEA garnered nearly all the state’s school districts roughly 50 years ago.

The union is not governed by the usual consumer protection or anti-trust law, so abuses of the privilege of collecting money are possible.

For example:

  • They can charge whatever they wish.
  • They can spend money on whatever they wish.
  • They do not have to disclose how the money is spent to those who pay it.
  • They can speak for employees without consulting or informing them.
  • They can injure some members’ interests while advancing the interests of others.
  • They can prevent employees from getting help in their workplace from other sources.
  • They are not governed by any obligation to provide quality service.
  • They almost never have to seek reauthorization of their right to have this monopoly on workplace services.

Some states do not allow unions to have the forced-fee provision.

In Washington, some school districts also do not allow the forced payment to unions. If a school board wanted to make union payment optional, they could seek this provision in their union contracts.

Public-sector union activities – including negotiating with government – potentially violate First Amendment rights of workers forced to fund the political voice of the union. A 2018 US Supreme Court case, Janus v. AFSCME, has been filed by public employees who seek to strike down the forced funding of the union organization.

The Freedom Foundation has expertise with the many ways unions circumvent the law and the rights of workers, and offered some considerations to the U.S. Supreme Court in two legal briefs on Dec. 6.

A ruling in Janus v. AFSCME is expected in 2018, and could mean that all school employees in Washington have the right to decide whether they want to pay for the union agenda or not.

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How teachers can boost their income