Saturday, February 24, 2018
How Will The Union Leadership Respond To The Janus Decision?
Before the end of the school year it's expected the Supreme Court in a 5 to 4 decision will rule in favor of Janus and dues will become voluntary not mandatory. The result will be that approximately 20% of the teachers will refuse to allow the union to take out their dues from their paycheck.
The union leadership wants to get the State Legislature to allow for the State to work out a mandatory dues program but with the State Senate controlled by the Republicans, that seems to be wishful thinking. Without State intervention, the union has developed two strategies to encourage members to pay their dues. The first, is a door knocking campaign that will have loyal members of the "Unity caucus" knock on every members door to exchange personal stories about how the union helped them to convince the member to pay their dues, The second, is to establish membership meeting at every school to tell active school staff why it's important to continue to pay dues to keep the union strong and effective.
In Michigan, when the State eliminate the mandatory dues for public sector unions, the dropout rate was 20%. Despite a strong effort by teacher unions to get members to pay their dues, still 18% dropped out. Obviously, the Michigan law is much more relevant to what will happen in New York State than what happened in Wisconsin, where union collective bargaining rights were eliminated that resulted in reduction of teacher benefits and limited pay raises amd have caused a severe teacher shortage in the State. You can read my post on Why New York State Is Not Wisconsin.
One group the union will most certainly lose are the ATRs. While they amount to only 2% of all teachers, they are a vocal group. Moreover, many ex-ATRs still harbor resentment to the union leadership on how they were treated by the union during their time being excessed. Finally, all the teachers who were forced out of the closing schools to look for new positions were not happy with the union's inability to fight the DOE by taking action. Instead the union acquiesced to the DOE school closing policy.
Another group that might not pay voluntary dues are the veteran teachers who know how the union leadership has allowed the DOE to impose policies that discrimate against them, like Fair Student Funding and tight school budgets that penalizes principals who hire veteran teachers.
Maybe after the Janus decision the union will start to treat their members as customers and provide them the services they pay for rather than looking at them as a nuisance since they are required to pay their dues. How much will the union downsize after the Janus decision? Only time will tell but downsize they must since a 20% cut in dues will require many jobs to be eliminated at the union.
Note: An audit done by Comptroller Scott Stringer found that the Department of Education escalated their spending on its Central Bureaucracy and was put on his "watch list". Here is what he said.
Stringer red-flagged the school system, where he found central administration staff has soared by 24 percent since 2012 — double the 12 percent rate of teachers.