Tuesday, September 16, 2008

More Education Minnesota Shenanigans

One of the conservative staff members secret handshake club members came up to me today and asked if I had received a phone call from Education Minnesota. I told her I had not, as I am a fairshare member and don’t get those calls (I do get the literature however). The phone call was in the guise of a survey about political views. At the end of the survey, the caller identified himself as representing Education Minnesota and strongly suggested candidates she should vote for. She took it in stride and told him ‘thanks for your opinions’ and promptly hung up.

I can’t help but wonder if there are any other ways I can control what happens to my union dues. My local union certainly does not need $500/year to negotiate our contract. The local union itemizes expenses in a transparent and accessible way, but neither Minnesota Education nor the NEA do. Looking at our local expenses, I often wonder what my money is paying for.

Politically like-minded teachers in my school are relatively quiet about their opinions. I am an exception. I don’t have a problem talking to anyone about why I believe a conservative government is best for our country. It’s almost a joke around here. I’m the lovable wing-nut. Anyway, there are no hard feelings among most staff members when it comes to our politics. The republican/conservative voters in my school have our little quiet conversations and secret handshake. It’s all in fun. I am very fortunate because I know this is not the case in every work place.

I don’t know of any staff having a problem with me being a fairshare member of the union either. Most are respectful of my right to pay 75% of my dues, lose my liability insurance, and any help from my union if I get in trouble in my bid to keep my hard earned money from promoting political causes I am opposed to. The truth is it’s a financial wash as I purchase my liability insurance through my home owner’s policy. It was an ordeal to go fairshare, but once I did no one questioned my decision. My local union secretary asks me every year if I wish to remain fairshare which I appreciate. I am the only full-time employed fairshare member in my district that I am aware of. I wish more teachers would take this option. It would send a strong message to our union, and hit them in the pocket book. Perhaps it would even focus them on labor issues rather than supporting the DFL.


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