Polski3's View from Here

Quote of some personal revelence: "Is a dream a lie, that don't come true, or is it something worse?"

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Union Dues

The latest edition of the NEA TODAY (April 2005) just arrived. As I always do when such a publication arrives, I eagerly read it from cover to cover.....NOT. I do, however, when I have time, look through it to see if there is anything worth reading and if there are any upcoming tv shows that might be of interest. AHHHH. this issue has some NEA dues spending data. According to NEA Secretary-Treasurer Lily Eskelsen's report (page 48-49), NEA's pot of money grew by over one million dollars, as a result of net revenues exceeding expenses. (Are we in for a dues reductions ? In my 21 years of forced union membership, THAT has never happened.) The report included an interesting pie chart of "Your 2004-2005 Dues Dollars". According to this data, teachers who are associated with NEA were assessed a mere $137.00 in NEA Dues. It is broken up into the following categories: Governance, ($7.30), Administrative Support ($24.86), Contingency ($1.19), Improve Teaching and Learning ($12.13), Legal Support ($16.28), Leadership Development and constituency Support ($3.20), Legislative and Ballot Initiative Action ($10.55), Partnerships and Public Relations ($9.78) and Support Strong States and Locals to Protect Member Interests ($51.71).

I find some of the comments for each category to be of 'interest'. For example, The 'Leadership Development and Constituency Support' included "Minority and Women's Leadership Training". I am not considered a person belonging to a 'minority' group, nor am I female, yet, my dues money is being used for NEA sponsored activities that as a member, I am not allowed to participate in. Under the category of 'Support Strong States and Locals to Protect Member Interests,' this included spending my dues money for "to Recruit and retain members'. Wait a minute ! I was NEVER recruited to join NEA. IT WAS FORCED UPON ME. I HAVE NO CHOICE. To 'Improve Teaching and Learning', some of my dues money is being used to "provide strategies for school improvement and raise student achievement'. How is this provided for NEA members? Through the ambiguous 'news' articles that appear in NEA TODAY ? In my 21 years of teaching, if I wanted any 'strategies for school improvement and raise student achievement' from NEA, I had to pay for the NEA publications they produce and sell. I do not recall ever receiving anything from NEA as to helping me do my job in my classroom. The final comment about my dues dollars is regarding 'Goverance'. The statement reads: "Implement an inclusive, engaged governance process that fosters member participation and democratic decision making....." I have NEVER even gotten a chance to vote for the President or any other officer of NEA. This is democratic decision making ? Or am I reading this wrong? Maybe it means that those NEA officers in power have MADE A DECISION that any DEMOCRAT running for public office is automatically the best candidate for that office ?

From my paycheck, every month, is deducted $81.00 for union dues, that is, $810.00 annually. I know my local dues are $61.00 annually, now I know NEA is assessing me $137.00 annually; this means that I am assessed $612.00 by CTA ! And now, CTA wants another $180.00 of my hard earned dollars! Other bloggers, such as EdWonk and RightontheWestCoast have commented on this proposed theft of teacher money. I will say more about it later.

Thank you for reading my blog. I welcome your comments!