A recent survey of 2,000 teachers in 22 states found 48 percent of teachers under 35 would prefer to negotiate their own salary and benefits for themselves, without the involvement of teachers’ unions.
However, 50 percent of teachers who are over 35, and 56 percent who have a total family income above $100,000, disagree with having to negotiate their own contract, according to the data.
The survey, commissioned by the nonprofit Teacher Freedom – which provides teachers with information about how to opt out of union membership and alternative associations to union membership – was conducted by Dynata, in March 2018, in states affected by the Janus v. AFSCME Supreme Court decision delivered three months later in June.
“A collective bargaining agreement is a lot like a big cable package,” said Colin Sharkey, the executive director of the Association of American Educators (AAE), according to Education Week. AAE is a national professional organization for educators and the largest supporter of the Teacher Freedom group.
Education Week noted Sharkey likened the finding that younger teachers were more likely to prefer to negotiate their own contracts to millennials opting out of cable bundle contracts in favor of streaming services.
“[I]it’s not as ingrained in them to have one-size-fits-all bargaining,” he said.
The report continued:
[Sharkey] said teachers tend to think they could benefit financially if they were able to negotiate their own salary. Right now, salaries are determined on a step-and-lane schedule that applies to teachers across the district—teachers receive raises for years of service and degrees earned. But Sharkey said some teachers who work in hard-to-staff subjects, like high school science, want the opportunity to negotiate higher pay.
Other teachers say they want a chance to argue for a pay raise based on their performance in the classroom, Sharkey said. Also, he said, younger teachers might not stay in the profession as long as their predecessors, so the step-and-lane salary schedule wouldn’t necessarily make financial sense for them.
The survey also found that while the overall percentage of teachers preferring a pension versus a 401(k) retirement plan was equal (35 percent for each option), younger teachers (41-27 percent) and those with incomes less than $50,000 (42-24 percent) were more likely to prefer the 401(k) retirement plan option.
“It shouldn’t come as a surprise that so many educators want to be free of government-imposed union ‘representation,’ which far too often is used by union officials to boost their own power at the expense of the very teachers they claim to represent,” Patrick Semmens, vice president of National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, told Breitbart News. “It is indisputable that many provisions in union-imposed contracts actually harm wide swaths of teachers, especially rigid seniority rules and opposition to merit pay, which treat younger teachers as second-class employees no matter how effective they are in the classroom.”
Despite being forced to be members of teachers’ unions prior to the Janus decision, the survey found only 39 percent of teachers actually agree with how unions spend their money.
A study released by Center for Union Facts in May 2018 revealed that, from 2010 to 2017, labor unions sent $1.3 billion in member dues to progressive groups aligned with the Democrat Party without obtaining the approval of their members.
Among the recipients of union dues funds were the Clinton Foundation, Planned Parenthood, Center for American Progress, Democracy Alliance, and the Democratic Governors Association.
As expected, the Teacher Freedom survey showed Democrats (48 percent) and teachers with family incomes above $100,000 per year (45 percent) were more likely to be satisfied with how unions spend their dues, while Republicans (43 percent) were less likely to support how the union distributed its dues money. The survey also found that a fair number teachers in general either did not know much about how their union spent their dues or were neutral on the subject.
The data also showed that nearly half of the teachers (46 percent) disagreed with the requirement that union fees be paid as a condition of employment, while 36 percent agreed. Democrats (45 percent) were more likely to agree with forced union dues, but more Republicans (60 percent) said they disagreed. Among those teachers with income less than $50,000, 59 percent disagreed with forced union fees.
“Fortunately, a solution exists,” Semmens said. “End union bosses’ monopoly and let teachers decide to advocate for themselves or select a private organization to advocate on their behalf.”
“States like Virginia and North Carolina, which already ban government union monopoly bargaining, prove that letting teachers choose whether or not to associate with a union works,” he added. “That solution also fixes the First Amendment issues inherent in government-imposed union monopoly representation.”
Teacher Freedom provides a list of alternate associations teachers may voluntarily join that offer professional benefits, such as liability insurance and job resources.
The margin of sampling error for the Teacher Freedom survey’s aggregate results is 2.2%, but is higher for some subgroups.