August 2, 2019 at 5:23 pm

Teachers, here are four misconceptions about your rights outside of union membership

Myth:

If a teacher chooses to opt-out of the teachers’ union, the terms of the negotiated agreement no longer apply to that teacher.

Fact:

Because the union fought for—and won—the right to exclusively represent both members and non-members, the union must represent all employees in good faith and all employees are covered by the union contract. The union created the “free rider” claim so often complained about, which is why claims of non-members being “free riders” or “scabs” are disingenuous.

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Myth:

If a teacher chooses to opt-out of the teachers’ union, that teacher would not receive any pay increases negotiated by the union.

Fact:

See explanation above. The union is the exclusive collective bargaining agent and negotiates wages, benefits, hours and working conditions that apply to all employees within that bargaining unit.

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Myth:

If a teacher chooses to opt-out of the teachers’ union, that teacher would lose their health insurance benefits negotiated by the union.

Fact:

Benefits are negotiated between the employer and the union, but they are provided by the district employer.

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Myth:

If a teacher chooses to opt-out of the teachers’ union, that teacher would lose seniority status and tenure protection.

Fact:

A teacher’s union status does not jeopardize seniority. Tenure and union association are separate things; tenure is set by the employer, the school district. A teacher’s union status does not jeopardize tenure.

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