The US Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME last summer freed government workers (including public school teachers) from having to pay union dues and fees as a condition of employment.
One of the points often made by union organizers is that those who don’t financially support unions are “free-riders” because they “benefit” from the union negotiating pay and benefits for them, but the unions won’t receive compensation for those efforts. But many conservatives including the Rio Grande Foundation would instead rather allow government workers to abandon union ties entirely and just negotiate their own pay and benefits without the union intervening in the first place.
And, according to some new polling data, increasing numbers of teachers are interested in doing the same thing. You can see detailed results from TeacherFreedom.org here:
- 35 percent of teachers would prefer to negotiate salary and benefits for themselves.
- That number rises to 48 percent for teachers under 35.
- 35 percent of teachers would like the option of a 401(k) retirement plan instead of a pension.
- That number rises to 41 percent for teachers under 35.
- Only 39 percent of teachers agree with the way the union spends their money.
- Nearly 1 in 5 teachers disagree with the policies of their union but don’t want to offend their colleagues by speaking out.
Also, Education Week did a detailed article on the prospects for teachers negotiating their own contracts. Worth noting is the fact that while it is not a majority of teachers that wishes to negotiate, the poll illustrates that far from being “free riders” many teachers are actually “forced riders” who have a 3rd party negotiating for them even though they’d prefer to have nothing to do with that entity.
2 Replies to “Polling data: 35 percent of teachers would prefer to negotiate salary and benefits themselves”
It’s inaccurate to describe teaching as a profession. It’s a skilled trade that rejects professional meritocracy and, as a result, has attracted people more interested in security than advancement. This survey suggests that some teachers may be interested in becoming professionals. Perhaps charter schools can recruit them.
I don’t know that I’d say the profession rejects meritocracy. The way I’d describe it is as a government-owned and operated monopoly. Solve that problem and create something resembling a free market in which the customer both pays and chooses the service provider and even the unions don’t bother me. Fed Ex and UPS both have their unions, but they don’t bug me or hinder the marketplace because the companies operate in a pretty free market.
Obviously, while they talk a good game about caring for the kids and “reform” of education, the unions are in reality leading advocates for the status quo.