When teacher union bosses are seeking to justify their monopoly privilege to speak for educators who don’t wish to join the union as well as union members in contract negotiations, or their power to force union nonmembers to fork over union dues in order to continue working in K-12 public schools, they resort to a lot of flowery language.
In the short commentary linked above, Mike Antonucci quotes a choice example from the Michigan Education Association (MEA/NEA) teacher union constitution, which asserts that this outfit’s purpose is “the improvement of education, the advancement of the interests of education and of educators, and the promotion of the professional growth of its members.”
Of course, the real first objective of teacher unions, like other unions, is to stay in business. If unions acted like normal businesses or normal nonprofits, who in order to stay in business have to provide goods and/or services that customers or donors are willing to pay for, that would be fine. Instead, as Antonucci illustrates with a fresh example of MEA bosses’ zeal to exact as much money as possible from educators as they can, teacher union officials use monopoly privileges that rightly belong only to government entities to reap private gains.
Michigan’s recently enacted Right to Work law, which takes effect next month, will at least make it much harder for the MEA brass to get away with this scam. Or, as Antonucci puts it, the Right to Work law “simply tears down the facade”:
In an interview with WILX-TV [MEA union President Steven] Cook said the union “will exercise our rights under the law to collect what the association dues are [from educators who have exercised their freedom to quit the union].
Cook is perfectly entitled to stand upon his economic rights, just as Verizon would if you wanted out of your wireless contract, or Comcast would if you wanted to terminate your cable service, or your landlord would if you needed to break your lease. But Verizon, Comcast and your landlord . . . are businesses, and you are in a business relationship with them.
If MEA wants to identify itself that way, then it should not have monopoly privileges, the ability to extract fees from non-customers, or entitlement to payroll deduction services from a government agency. Michigan’s right-to-work law simply tears down the facade.
Are You a Union Member or a Lease?