All about ALEC, the influential and powerful group lobbying to dismantle public education and workers' rights...
ALEC's education agenda is focused on privatizing America's public schools. Its bills undermine public education and teachers' unions and also divert taxpayer dollars from accountable public schools to unaccountable for-profit education corporations. ALEC masks its true agenda in "feel-good" language, such as shifting from terms like "vouchers," which are broadly unpopular and rooted in segregation, to "opportunity scholarships" or "tuition tax credits." ALEC bills expected to crop up in 2016 include:
In 2016, ALEC will be pushing several new initiatives designed to undermine worker rights, limit reduce wages and benefits, weaken job standards, and break unions, both on the state level and by undermining the power of local governments.
Weakening Unions. Several states have introduced ALEC's anti-union "Right-to-Work Act" in recent years, and the ALEC model has become law in Michigan, Wisconsin, and West Virginia--bringing the total number of "right to work" states to 26. ALEC's "Public Employee Freedom Act" is its right-to-work bill for public sector workers. These laws have the aim of defunding unions by encouraging workers to free-ride on union representation by allowing them to opt out of paying union dues to cover the costs of representing employees on the job.
For more on ALEC, go to http://www.alecexposed.org/wiki/What_is_ALEC%3F
Your Union and District leadership discussed some possible changes to opening day activities for teachers. Thanks to the input from many teachers, as well as the actions of your Union leadership, the District plans to make some changes next year which will hopefully afford teachers more time in their classrooms at the start of the year.
Please don't hesitate to forward any future concerns or complaints on to your campus reps or the Union leadership! We're here to look out for you!
The term ‘Right To Work’ is a misleading phrase used by opponents of unions and collective bargaining, to eliminate the leverage unions have to negotiate fair wages & working conditions. The choice of words is meant to convey something that it is not. Federal law prohibits anyone from being required to belong to a union to hold any job. However, federal law also requires all workers, union or not, to receive the same wages, benefits and protections negotiated and provided by that union.
Therefore, it has been customary to permit unions to collect ‘Fair Share’ payments from non-union workers. Fair share requires non-union members pay the equivalence of union dues to the union. The rationale for this is the union incurs significant costs negotiating the benefits received by all members, union or not. Federal law also mandates the union legally represent non-union members for any work-related disputes. This may require the union to incur expensive legal bills defending non-union members.
Some union and non-union members object to their dues or fair share being spent for political activities that they oppose. However, everyone has the right to direct any of their dues that would otherwise be spent for ‘political activities’ to be allocated toward a non-religious charity of their choice. In other words, no one is required to spend any of their money supporting political causes that he or she personally opposes.
If Fair Share were eliminated in Illinois, some of our people will quit so they can save money on dues. When enough members drop, the bargaining unit loses leverage to negotiate better wages and conditions for all workers. Our pay and benefits in District 201 are comparatively good because our union has nearly always had 100 percent membership. Make no mistake! If Fair Share is eliminated, and just a portion of our people quit the union, you can expect a diminution of our pay and benefits relative to inflation.
Currently, 25 states have ‘Right To Work’ laws, and teachers’ unions in Illinois are under assault from two directions. Governor Rauner refuses to even discuss the Illinois budget until Democrats agree to sacrifice public unions. The current Supreme Court vacancy and Senate gridlock has the possibility of affecting the outcome of this case.
In light of the recent election, this topic will most likely come back to the Supreme Court. That is why we need to be vigilant about protecting ourselves. That is the function of our union. The next U.S. President and Congress have significant power to affect your paycheck.
Our union leadership has a vision. We are working regularly behind the scenes to better serve you. BFT Local 434’s vision is to be active and engaged in the school and community.
In the upcoming months, we will be holding several events. In February our Young Members Focus Group will be meeting. This group helps us build our future capacity. Please let us know if you are a young member and are interested in being a let if this group.
Also in February we will be holding a PERA Q & A. All members are invited. This will be a chance for all members to ask questions after summaries evaluation scores are received. This is a chance for you to speak out and ask questions so we can work for equitable and fair evaluations.
Finally, in March, we will be inviting all school board candidates to a Meet and Greet. We will be negotiating a new contract in two years and these people will be on our school board. Now is the time for us to be active at the local level and build a strategic alliance with our board. We can let our voices be heard and select pro-union and pro- teacher candidates.
Please be watching for further information on these events.
Proud alumnus, union member, and educator in District #201 since 2006.
Dr. Hentze is the author of High Finance with Hentze, a monthly blog that provides news about District 201's current financial state.