Las Vegas Teacher Fed-Up with Union
posted by: Alix | July 10, 2012, 06:03 PM   

According to one Las Vegas teacher, "The fat lady has sung" and he is washing his hands of union membership. Frustrated by years of hostile negotiations, massive lay-offs, exorbitant dues, and partisan politics, Nathan Warner is advising his fellow educators to drop union membership this week during a small resignation period– July 1-15 – which just might be the best kept secret in town.

Clearly, while reasonable people can disagree about the merits of individual education policies, his account of a broken system brought to its knees by a monopoly special interest in Nevada is entirely accurate. In a statewide climate where teachers have a history of modest pay and are now experiencing lay-offs and further work disruptions, this information couldn't have come to light at a more critical time.

Although this example illustrates a specific area in the country, teachers everywhere are obviously growing frustrated with representation that is getting them nothing but lay-off notices. Already teachers are leaving the unions in droves with nearly 150,000 teachers throughout the country off the union rosters in the last year alone. Educators and other like-minded individuals must spread the word about these issues and consider non-union alternatives, like the Association of American Educators.

Read Mr. Warner's op-ed below and comment on their website to show support. If you are a teacher in Nevada, click here to see how you can drop union membership.

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The fat lady, as they say, has sung: the negotiations negotiated, the arbitration arbitrated, the layoffs laid off.

The Clark County School District and the Clark County Education Association were locked in bitter combat for the past school year. An arbitration decision in May favored the union and said teachers must be given contractual raises. The district was subsequently forced, because of financial constraints, to eliminate more than 1,000 positions through attrition and 419 layoffs.

Unfortunately, the political posturing and hyperbolic bluster continue. Negotiations for the next school year have already been declared an impasse, with the decision again punted to an arbitrator. As a result of this mess and the resulting public controversy, a self-styled free-market think tank - the Nevada Policy Research Institute - recently launched a campaign to bring awareness to the fact that the union has only a 15-day annual window in which teachers can cancel membership and thus avoid a $32-per-paycheck - or $768 annual - deduction of union dues.

There's one obvious reason for relatively new teachers to not support the union: self-interest. The union does not represent these teachers. It eats its young, demanding raises for senior teachers at the expense of new teachers' jobs. But the problem is more complex than only the determined pursuits of opposing self-interests. There's no doubt that this is a losing issue, for teachers, for parents, for students. There are two more reasons that teachers should reconsider paying dues... Click here to read the full article.



What do you think of Mr. Warner's assessment? Is your state or district experiencing similar problems?
Comment below.

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