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Poll: Even Most Teachers Oppose Mandatory Union Fees

Majority of people with an opinion on the issue think teachers should be free to make their own decisions.

DreamstimeDreamstimeShould teachers have the right to opt out of unions without paying fees? Most people—and, perhaps surprisingly, most teachers—say yes.

That’s according to Education Next’s 2015 poll, which surveys attitudes on a variety of education issues.

Respondents were given the following prompt:

In some states, all teachers must pay fees for union representation even if they choose not to join the union. Some say that all teachers should have to contribute to the union because they all get the pay and benefits the union negotiates with the school board. Others say teachers should have the freedom to choose whether or not to pay the union. Do you support or oppose requiring all teachers to pay these fees even if they do not join the union?

Opposition to mandatory fees won out 43 percent to 34 percent, with another 23 percent saying they had no opinion. EdNext noted that when the neutral position was excluded, 56 percent of people with an opinion on the issue believe dues payment should be voluntary.

But it wasn’t just the public at large expressing this view. A whopping 50 percent of teachers said non-union members shouldn’t have to pay fees; 38 percent disagreed, and 13 percent had no opinion. Many people might have expected teachers—who are often thought to be pro-union in large numbers—to come out against a position that undercuts the political power of unions, but these results suggest that voluntary union membership is actually even more popular among teachers than it is among non-teachers.

It’s not just non-unionized teachers who think this; unionized teachers made up almost half the sample, and only 52 percent of them said agency fees should be mandatory.

This should come as good news for Rebecca Friedrichs, the California teacher who sued her union for forcing her to pay dues. She is contesting mandatory fees on freedom of speech grounds; unions take advantage of the fees they collect to fund partisan political causes, and obligating teachers to pay them violates the First Amendment, she has argued. Friedrichs’ case is headed to the Supreme Court, where she is likely to find five justices who are amenable to her argument.

If the Court rules in favor of Friedrichs, union leaders like Randi Weingarten will no doubt decry the decision as a rightwing attack on organized labor. But that view is not shared by the majority of teachers—and even many unionized teachers think Friedrichs is right.

Reason TV recently interviewed Friedrichs about the case. Watch that video here.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

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  • MJGreen - Docile Citizen||

    Aww, I thought that kid was giving the class the bird. But it's just a piece of chalk. :(

    Anyway, stupid free riding teachers! They don't know what's in their own interest!

  • Scarecrow & WoodChipper Repair||

    Gave me an OT thinko for a minute. The idea that Uber drivers are employees, not contractors, and the idea that interns, grad students, and other apprentices must be paid the minimum wage .... what about K-12 teachers who force students up to the board to work out problems, or read their homework out loud? Isn't there a case for considering them employees or at least interns, deserving of the minimum wage and union protection? Then what about child labor laws?

    Someone with some money to spend could have a good time esploding some proggie heads with that kind of thinking.

  • Rebel Scum||

    Ok. I'm hot for teacher.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Jaime Escalante is both married and dead. Though Edward James Olmos is apparently on the market.

  • SoCal Deathmarch||

    How do I reach these keeeds?

  • Florida Man||

    What's the scoreboard say esè?

  • Almanian - Trump's Woodchipper||

    It says "Ima CUT choo", Holmes!

  • R C Dean||

    You betcha.

    The glasses . . .

    Plus, she looks like one of those pulled-together women that, you just know, once you pop their cork . . . .

  • Restoras||

    I had a recent experience with a woman like that and...yeah. Exactly.

  • Rt. Hon. Judge Woodrow Chipper||

    I'm assuming you didn't watch the video.

  • MJGreen - Docile Citizen||

    With gusto.

  • Devil's Candy||

    Yeah, my 15 year old self had this woman's image seering his brain long before this, and now I have to admit it still is.

  • ||

    "I brought my *pencil*! Gimme somethin' to write on!"

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

    My homework was never quite like this.

  • Almanian - Trump's Woodchipper||

    I don't FEEL tardy...

  • Hugh Akston||

    Coincidentally, I bet she's thinking right now that she wants nothing more than awkward disappointing sex with some random internet commenter that she can comfort while he cries for 20 minutes afterward.

  • Almanian - Trump's Woodchipper||

    RC Dean doesn't cry.

  • The Last American Hero||

    He is Cimmerian. He cannot cry, so I will cry for him.

  • Almanian - Trump's Woodchipper||

    God bless you....American...Hero....

    *chokes up*

  • R C Dean||

    Perhaps a single manly tear, because the rest of her life will pale in comparison.

  • Florida Man||

    The heads up was "just...just don't".

  • Hamster of Doom||

    What self-respecting woman wouldn't?! I ask you.

  • Dances-with-Trolls||

    There are times, even through my cynicism, that I catch myself asking "How is this even a freaking question?"

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Because the Progressives of the '30's through the present thought and think that Unions can do no wrong, and don't really trust the Great Unwahsed that much. I find it interesting that their control fo the debate has slipped so much that the question is being asked.

  • CatoTheChipper||

    I don't think progressive policymakers, who are distinct from progressive voters, were ever so delusional as to believe that "unions can do no wrong". Instead, progressive policymakers understood that it was far easier to implement progressive policies when workers were subject to the coercive authority of a relatively small number of large unions. It's also much easier to implement progressive policies (including tax assessment and collection) when there is a limited number of large corporations rather than a hodgepodge of small business entities. Self-employed individuals are the worst of all from the perspective of government, which is why they face punitive taxation (e.g., self-employment tax, ObamaCare mandate, etc.)

  • Pompey||

    You get the feeling that a lot, if not most, teachers are not outright sociopaths. But they do likes themselves a monopoly.

  • Marshall Gill||

    You get the feeling that a lot, if not most, teachers are not outright sociopaths.

    How in the hell would you get this idea? Public indoctrination "experts" are the scum of the Earth, including those who are my immediate family. I would happily light a bonfire of public school "teachers" in a second.

    Most teachers ARE outright sociopaths. Thieves. Complete scum. They consistently want more coerced pay for less productivity. Sounds pretty much like sociopaths to me. Ask some time why private school teachers earn so much less. Yep, sociopaths.

  • Jerryskids||

    I wonder how many of the teachers supporting the idea that they should not have to pay union dues support the idea that if enough teachers don't pay union dues the union should be dissolved? That is - how many of the teachers responding to the question of whether or not they personally should have to pay union dues are simply assuming that somebody else is or should have to pay for the union? If I go to work for a union shop why should I have to pay for something that all the other workers have already paid for?

  • Illocust||

    I'm pretty sure they'd be fine with the union being dissolved if it couldn't get half the employee base to voluntarily pay dues. It would certainly encourage the unions to provide tangible benefits.

  • ||

    I assume that they think unions are awesome and dues suck. Same as the grocery workers' union rep who tried to convince me to join when I was 16. I think Article I of her plank was that Kroger should pay her union dues.

  • kbolino||

    There are a number of states where teachers aren't unionized (or at least, aren't universally unionized) and the tangible union benefits like lawsuit insurance are provided by other, voluntarily funded means. From what I've heard, most teachers pay these (considerably lower) premiums without much complaint. The problem with unions is that they conflate a bunch of unrelated issues together and use this as justification for exorbitant dues. Decouple the individual pieces and people will pay for the ones they want and skip the rest.

  • R C Dean||

    If I go to work for a union shop why should I have to pay for something that all the other workers have already paid for?

    Because only dues-paying members get to vote and get union bennies other than the comp package?

  • Almanian - Trump's Woodchipper||

    My wife quit teaching a couple years ago. Just straight up quit. Because almost all the other teachers were total Che-lovin' commies, and the administrators were Machiavellian bozos.

    A number of friends and relatives are teachers, with similar experiences (although most didn't just up and say, "Fuck it, I'm out."

    So, our - admittedly - limited experience suggests "most" teachers are far from wanting to be rid of unions. Most I know love them some unions, but it would be great if they didn't have to pay dues.

    Fucking free lunch - how does it work? HARDER THAN A TEACHER, AMIRITE??!!!

  • ||

    I know this is fairly anedotal but I remember in high school at Chicago Public, the worst teachers were the ones who always screamed about going to their union if the principal called them out on their incompetency or wearing their CTU shirts and buttons with pride.

    Oddly enough, there was a teacher who did a superb job and the students respected her but yet when the administrators were fucking with her, they (the union) did nothing to help her.

    Karen Lewis and the CTU can all go die in a fire.

  • sarcasmic||

    How is that odd? She was probably making the fuckups look bad.

  • R C Dean||

    +1 pig roast.

  • Devil's Candy||

    Pro-Union is a self-selecting group. If you know you don't have what it takes to get hired, stay hired, and even advance in your chosen field.....you fuckin' go union! No other option keeps you employed for long.

  • AlexInCT||

    Why is anyone surprised that people that believe in government giving the free shit think they shouldn't pay union dues to get union services? I am sure they feel someone else should pay for that, like they do with healthcare and practically everything else, because they like the protection the union racket gives them.

  • Hugh Akston||

    What makes you so sure? What if they don't want to pay union fees because they don't think it's fair to be forced to pay for something that they are not a member of?

  • Marshall Gill||

    What makes you so sure?

    I don't know, how about the fact that they accepted a no work or minimum work "job" at the expense of the productive in the first place? Working for the government hardly screams "I want to earn my living" does it?

    What if they don't want to pay union fees because they don't think it's fair to be forced to pay for something that they are not a member of?

    Then they are hypocrites of the highest order considering their own fucking pay is from people who are forced to pay for something with which they are not members.

    Did I mention how much I hate public school teachers? I do.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Maybe some of them just want to teach and state governments have a virtual monoposony over primary and secondary education.

  • Irish ♥s ESB||

    So the comments on that Youtube video of the Sorority in Alabama have now turned into a neo-Nazi and black supremacist infested race war.

    I LIVE 17 hours ago
    Hitler Was Right. And the same people that attacked him are attacking these beautiful White Women.
    Hashed Prod. 19 hours ago
    How to get in:
    - Be Hot
    - Preferably blonde
    - Preferably white
    enginekid88 1 day ago (edited)
    "keep bashing the dead white males, and the live ones, and the females, too, until the social construct known as 'the white race' is destroyed not 'deconstructed' but destroyed." Jewish (Kenite) Professor, Noel Ignatiev, Harvard University

    The Kenites most hated foe are Caucasian's because they hate Eve's Seed. Eve's Seed were and are the Caucasian race. Listen to what Jehovah GOD told their daddy Cain, the son of that old Serpent in the Garden otherwise known as Satan.

    Genesis 3:14-15 "And JEHOVAH GOD said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this...I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed."
  • Irish ♥s ESB||

    The Serpents seed hates (has eternal enmity) for Adam and Eve's seed. Who is the Serpents Seed that Jehovah was talking about? Cain and all his seed through the ages. The Kenites are Cain's tribe, they wrote the Babylonian Talmud, the Jews most revered and loved holy book. It says right in it that Caucasian's (all Christians) are their most hated foe. Jesus Christ came umbilical cord to umbilical cord from Eve's seed. Jesus, all true children of Jacob (Israel) , which included House of Judah are Caucasian's direct lineage to Eve. The Kenites who masquerade as house of Judah since 400 years before Jesus walked the Earth want to destroy the Caucasian race because they HATE them, just as Jehovah said they would.
    Show less

    What did I just read.

  • sarcasmic||

    I got lost in all the begats.

  • Irish ♥s ESB||

    Somehow this became about Jewish hatred for non-Jewish whites, but I don't know how we got there.

  • sarcasmic||

    I got the impression that at some point the writer thought someone had two sons, one of which fathered the Jews while the other fathered the Caucasians. Kinda like how Jews are descended from Abraham's son Isaac and Arabs from his other son Ishmael. Or something. Dude's really confused.

  • kV||

    Niwdog's law, dude

  • R C Dean||

    I knew electing a black President would bring racial harmony. How could it not?

  • lap83||

    "How to get in:
    - Be Hot
    - Preferably blonde
    - Preferably white"

    This is actually how many of them operate. Is this news? I guess it is now. Awesome.

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    Ain't it great? It's like ordering from a menu!

  • ||

    You forgot Step 0 -- be able to afford it.

  • Devil's Candy||

    Don't most Sororities/Fraternities automatically accept legacy pledges? So the greek system is one that would tend towards homogeneity, right?

  • Rt. Hon. Judge Woodrow Chipper||

    The poll result is totally based on hoping teachers hoping a few of the stupider teachers opt out.

    The union will tell them: "If you don't pay the dues, that is your choice, but the 43%-funded pension will eventually go to collective bargaining to get fixed. That fix is guaranteed to require the fund to cut some future recipients and the ones that get cut will be the ones that don't pay union dues."

    Then we'll see how many of these teachers REALLY don't want to pay the union dues.

  • R C Dean||

    That fix is guaranteed to require the fund to cut some future recipients and the ones that get cut will be the ones that don't pay union dues

    I'm not an ERISA expert, but I'm pretty sure that's one thing you can't do with a pension plan.

  • Agammamon||

    . . . and, perhaps surprisingly, most teachers—say yes.

    There's nothing surprising about this *at all*.

    Its not even that teachers feel they aren't getting their money's worth. Its that the vast majority of people have no problem with being free-riders.

    The only thing the unions are right on is that no one would pay union dues unless they were forced to - most people just think the status quo is a physical law and *just happens*.

    Hell, if you pared the government back down to just minimal functions and cut taxes to match and then gave people an option to get out of paying - they'd still take that option.

  • AD-RtR/OS!||

    So, you're willing to give Scott Walker a fair hearing then?

  • bassasaurusrex||

    The biggest problem with the union argument that it allows 'freeriders' is silly. So called minority unions are possible (for those unaware, it is basically when the employees themselves to the negotiating etc that a paid union normally would. Essentially the people who have actual skin in the game).
    Union types will point out that minority unions fail. However, the unions fail to point out that they normally fail due to union interference constantly trying to get the minority union to decertify.
    There is no credible reason to suggest that people MUST pay what is essentially a political organization as a pre-condition to working.

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