News from the trenches: Maine

One of the most interesting things about writing a book is hearing first hand accounts from people who have direct experience with what you are writing about.  During our research, we spoke to many teachers, union and non-unions, from across the United States.  But this week, I heard from a teacher in Maine, a state that we gave a grade F to in Shadowbosses because state law there does not protect teachers from being forced to pay union dues to get or keep their jobs.

But as this careful reader pointed out, this does not mean that teachers are required to pay dues or fees to a union in every school district in the state. ”Daniel from Maine” writes:

While Maine may not be a “right to work state” and does have the capability of forcing non-union members to pay agency fees, you fail to clarify this point and note that many local chapters of the NEA, in concert with their local school boards, do NOT choose to exercise this option.  As I noted, I have been a public school teacher since 1992 and have taught in two of Maine’s largest school districts.  When I was first applying for a teaching position I joined the NEA.  I soon found that the NEA was spending most of my dues to support political candidates for whom I would never vote for in an election and after about two years I stopped being a member of the teachers union.  Since then, I have not been a member, have not had “agency fees” deducted from my compensation, have not been bullied or intimidated by union members and have neither lost jobs nor been refused hire because I am not a union member.

There is little good that I personally have to say about the NEA.  I have found other liability insurance coverage for teachers which I believe is much better than the NEA.  The NEA has refused to represent on at least one incident involving a colleague, a card carrying union member when it should have stepped up and represented that person.  I do feel, however, that since you, in my opinion, did not fully research the local Maine opt out of agency fee collecting, that it tends to raise questions about the rest of your research and the conclusions that you draw.

My response was:

I am very pleased to hear that as a teacher in Maine, you have always worked in a school district that has refused to include a service fee requirement in the bargaining agreement.  However, that doesn’t change the fact that state law permits compulsory unionism, and that your situation could change at any time if the union negotiated for a contract provision forcing all teachers to pay dues.  The state of law doesn’t protect you adequately against this.  That was my point in categorizing Maine as a forced dues state.

Wouldn’t it be better if all teachers in Maine (and the United States) had the right to decide whether or not to support a union financially—as you do—and this protection were in state law?

Daniel from Maine agreed and added:

 When I dropped out of the union, I found that the Association of American Educators (http://www.aaeteachers.org/) provides a much better alternative to the NEA teachers’ liability coverage without the political dues collection.  You might check them out.  They collect for the insurance and office overhead.

You may certainly use my comments.  Anything that I can offer that is useful to turning around the overpresence of the all too political NEA in the sphere of public education is there for you to productively use.

Those of you with specific information about the union conditions in particular states and occupations are certainly welcome to contact me here with your insights.  I will publish the most interesting comments (with a pen name for you).  Please note that my correspondence with Daniel from Maine was edited for brevity.

The Battle for Chicago and Beyond

City Journal - As I read Mallory Factor’s Shadowbosses, Chicago Teachers Union members walked out on strike, yelling into bullhorns and denouncing Rahm Emanuel, the Democratic mayor who has insisted on reforms to improve education in the city. As the New York Times reported, “In the view of some here, the toxic relationship between Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, whom Lewis has called a ‘bully’ and a ‘liar,’ has helped push the city’s teacher contract talks to the point of a crisis, forcing 350,000 students out of their classrooms in the nation’s third-largest school system not long after the new academic year began.”

Read more here.

Government Employee Unions Taking Control Of America

International Business Times - With just over 50 days until the 2012 presidential election, Americans are searching for the truth behind both candidates. While everyone seems to have an opinion, facts often seem to be lacking.

Much of what is lacking can be found in a newly published book titled “Shadowbosses: Government Unions Control America and Rob Taxpayers Blind,” by Mallory Factor. He is a professor of international politics and American government at The Citadel and co-founder of the Monday Meeting, a gathering of intellectuals, journalists and politicians who discuss current events.

Read more here.

Mallory Interviews Senator Rand Paul for TheBlaze

As Congress comes back in session after summer recess, Republican U.S. Senator from Kentucky Rand Paul returns to Washington D.C. with the wind at his back following a well-received address at the Republican National Convention last month, and the upcoming release of his second book: Government Bullies: How Everyday Americans Are Being Harassed, Abused, and Imprisoned by the Feds. Sen. Paul came to TheBlaze newsroom in New York City Monday to discuss his new book and where government regulations can go too far, in an interview with TheBlaze.com’s Senior Contributor Mallory Factor.

“Sometimes government regulations start out reasonable, but sometimes they get carried away,” Sen.Paul said Monday.

Read more here.

Teachers unions: Not just Chicago’s problem

By Mallory Factor

The Washington Examiner - Today, we see Chicago teachers on strike, waving placards, chanting and making news, while keeping 350,000 schoolchildren out of the classroom, their educations on hold while the teachers unions hold out for more from the city of Chicago.

How can one private organization, the Chicago Teachers Union, disrupt the lives of so many children and their families in one of America’s largest cities? Far less dramatically, but far more importantly, the teachers unions and their bosses are wrecking K-12 education for all America’s public school students every day all across America.

[Read more...]

Chicago Strike is disruptive, harmful–and illegal

The teachers union strike in Chicago is disrupting kids and their families in Chicago, but did you know that it is also illegal?    In Illinois, teachers are permitted to strike for higher wages but not over policies set by the Chicago Board of Education–which is what this strike about.  Think about that when unionists tell you that there is no harm unionizing critical national security workers because strikes of federal workers are illegal.  As we discuss in Shadowbosses, the head of the PATCO air traffic controllers union said during that illegal strike of federal workers, “the only illegal strike is an unsuccessful one.”

Forbes Magazine – Obamacare’s “Gotcha” for the Health Care Sector

By Mallory Factor

One of the great mysteries of modern politics was the high level of union support for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. When President Obama was elected, Obamacare was already one of the unions’ top legislative priorities. Government unions spent tens of millions and used enormous political capital to pass Obamacare. Yet, universal health care should not be a core issue for unions because most union members have more than adequate health care coverage. So why the overwhelming support for Obamacare from the government employee unions?

Many commentators point to the concessions President Obama gave to the unions right before Obamacare passed in Congress in March 2010. To solidify union support, Obama agreed to a seven year moratorium on taxing the famed Cadillac health care plans that many union members receive—which increased the cost of Obamacare by $120 billion. But this concession does not explain the overwhelming union commitment to pass Obamacare which began before the President was even elected. [Read more...]

The Circle of Money

The teachers unions serve themselves first, teachers second, and our kids a distant third, as we explain in Shadowbosses and this amazingly simple video illustrated terrifically well.

http://bit.ly/machinesneakpeek

SEIU Intimidation Manual

If you ever have any doubt that unions still employ thuggery when simply paying off people doesn’t get the results that they are looking for, take a careful look at this story  The Houston Chronicle picked up a thread we wrote about in Shadowbosses about an SEIU manual on how to use extreme pressure to get employers to give in to union demands.

The SEIU manual, which came to light in an extortion lawsuit against the SEIU, calls for thuggish techniques to get employers to back down, stopping only milimeters short of outright blackmail.  SEIU’s response is that this is an out-of-date manual–which is true–the SEIU’s current thuggery manual is obviously on an SEIU website behind multiple levels of password protection.  If anyone can get to it, please share it.

http://www.chron.com/business/article/Public-pressure-is-key-in-union-manual-3832535.php

[The SEIU's "Contract Campaign Manual"]  recommends hiring students to pose as researchers to get inside information against a corporate target; find unrelated regulatory complaints for legal and regulatory pressure; and search a variety of sources, from divorce records to membership in clubs that discriminate to links with unpopular politicians, to find incriminating details on company officials.

“It may be a violation of blackmail and extortion laws to threaten management officials with release of ‘dirt’ about them if they don’t settle a contract,” according to the guide. “But there is no law against union members who are angry at their employer deciding to uncover and publicize factual information about individual managers.”

The actual Contract Campaign Manual is available here:  http://www.scribd.com/doc/60893001/SEIU-Contract-Campaign-Manual-Pressuring-the-Employer

After $100k ‘public relations’ payment from teachers union, Media Matters attacked Fox News

The Daily Caller - A document the National Education Association filed with the U.S. Department of Labor in 2011 indicates that the teachers union donated $100,000 to Media Matters For America nearly two years ago, describing it as a payment for “public relations costs.” In the months that followed, Media Matters’ online coverage of teachers unions increased, focusing largely on attacking the Fox News Channel and other media outlets it considers “conservative” in nature.

The $100,000 payment was first documented in “Shadowbosses: Government Unions Control America and Rob Taxpayers Blind,” a book by Citadel international politics professor Mallory Factor published on August 21.

“[T]o ensure that NEA’s agenda makes its way in the media,” Factor wrote, “NEA has given $100,000 to Media Matters, the George Soros-funded liberal ‘charitable organization’ dedicated to targeting mythical right-wing media bias.” (RELATED – Book: Obamacare law designed to unionize 21 million health care workers)

Read more here.

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