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.