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AAE and the Issue of Forced Unionism
posted by: Alix | March 25, 2011, 06:58 PM   

In light of the labor battles brewing across the country, members and others interested in our organization have inquired about AAE's position on compulsory unionism, forced dues, strikes, and sick-outs.

AAE is first and foremost a professional membership organization, not a labor union. We are committed to advancing the teaching profession through personal growth, professional development, teacher advocacy and protection, as well as promoting excellence in education so that our members receive the respect, recognition and rewards they deserve. AAE membership is voluntary.

As a truly professional membership organization, we make it a priority to not only serve our members, but inform our membership, and teachers everywhere, about their rights.
Teachers have options in their states regarding professional membership associations and we believe that teachers should know that fact before committing to pay dues to a professional association or a union. Despite what other organizations purport, teachers can be trusted to research professional associations, weigh the pros and cons of membership, shop for a better price, and make the decision for themselves.

AAE adamantly believes that teachers should not be forced to pay a union simply for the privilege of having a job in a public school. Currently, there are 22 states in which teachers may be required to pay union dues as a condition of employment. This practice of forcing dues from teachers' paychecks is called compulsory unionism or forced unionism and it is big business for unions.

In 2007 alone, teachers unions collected $2 billion in union dues. $1.3 billion of those dues came from states with compulsory unionism. In fact, union dues are highest in states where there is compulsory unionism – sometimes twice as much as compared to states where teachers have the option not to join the union. The staggering numbers alone demonstrate why the unions are fighting to keep these policies in place. Without forced dues, unions would lose millions in revenue.

AAE believes that teachers, as college-educated professionals, should be able to decide whether union membership matches his or her budget and beliefs. The fact is there are thousands of educators in Wisconsin and in 21 other states who do not want to be represented by a union and do not want to pay union dues but are forced to because of state laws.

AAE believes that strikes, sick-outs and other protests denigrate the teaching profession. AAE's Code of Ethics for Educators states: "The professional educator responsibly accepts that every child has a right to an uninterrupted education free from strikes or any other work stoppage tactics." This belief fundamentally sets AAE apart from the unions. Teachers are called to be professionals, to put the needs of children first and foremost. Strikes and sick-outs are not only unprofessional; they adversely affect students in the classroom. There are less combative and antagonistic measures that do not hurt students and do not denigrate a noble profession.

AAE operates under the guiding principles of membership service, choice in affiliation, and professionalism. With these main goals in place, we also remain committed to truly representing our members' voices.

AAE does not spend any of our members' dues on partisan politics, nor do we support or oppose controversial agendas unrelated to education. Our positions are based on the results of our membership surveys.

Our unique non-union model is resonating with modern educators across the country. In the last few months AAE has welcomed members from states such as Wisconsin, Ohio, and Alabama, all of whom are seeking an alternative to the union. We welcome these teachers and are happy to share with educators nationwide what sets us apart from the competition.

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written by Pamela in Nebraska, March 26, 2011

I am pleased to read about your beliefs on striking. This is very much how I feel about that issue. When teachers talk about the possibility of that happening here in Nebraska, I usually say, "Fine, more jobs for me!" (I am a substitute.)

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