What Do Teachers Want to Support?

RTW allows them to skip union's political bent

The economic effects of state right-to-work laws are important, but these laws are significant for other reasons, too, namely the fact that employees cannot be forced to contribute money to a union they disagree with as a condition of their employment.

This is especially significant because many labor unions, particularly in forced unionism states, are political organizations that spend money on issues that most people would consider partisan and contentious.

Allysia Finley of The Wall Street Journal recently covered the National Education Association’s annual convention and explains how that union chose to spend its membership dues. The Michigan Education Association, this state’s largest teachers’ union, is an affiliate of the NEA. MEA members pay the NEA about $180 annually.

Finley reports that the union passed resolutions taking an “anti-fracking” position and encouraging members to boycott the office-supply store Staples, because the U.S. Postal Service has contracted out nonunionized work to them.

Finley adds, “Delegates debated whether the union's president should write a letter to Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder denouncing the NFL team name's ‘institutional racism.’ They also discussed a resolution supporting reparations for ‘the lingering impact of slavery’ and ‘subtle Jim Crow policies and thinking’ including ‘unconscious bias.’ These items were referred to a private committee for further discussion.”

Many people would find such endeavors are worthwhile. But is it in the wheelhouse of a teachers’ union? Thanks to the state’s right-to-work law, Michigan educators can now decide for themselves.