UNION FREEDOM FOR ALL
by Jim Hawkins, Director
Professional Educators of Iowa
Yes, “Dorothy,” teachers can leave the union. As a matter of fact, teachers and any Iowa public employee can leave the union by only giving a notice. Within 30 days of receiving the request the employer must stop the payroll deductions. That is the law!
Iowa Code: 731.5 Deducting dues from pay unlawful.
It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, association, labor organization, or corporation to deduct labor organization dues, charges, fees, contributions, fines, or assessments from an employee’s earnings, wages, or compensation, unless the employer has first been presented with an individual written order therefore signed by the employee, which written order shall be terminable at any time by the employee giving at least thirty days’ written notice of such termination to the employer.
Every year many individual teachers regret that they signed the automatic deduction forms that are thrust upon them at the beginning of the contract year. Perhaps the person is new to a school district or even a university. If the union has the bargaining contract, they are usually blessed by the district to freely set up an enrollment table or even hand out the union payroll deduction forms with the other beginning-of-the-year documents that teachers are given as part of the orientation and pre-beginning in-service.
In many districts, the union is also allowed some microphone time to promote their position as the bargaining unit for ALL the teachers. In recent years, there have been numerous independent teachers who asked for equal time or to be allowed to meet with their independent organization during this time. Many freedom-respecting superintendents are agreeable to this, but can you believe that some have not been?
Further, in recent years more teachers have learned that there is a process to vote out the union and either do “meet and confer” negotiations with school districts, or form their own independent bargaining unit. Although tie-breakers favor the organization being voted out, there are now three independent bargaining units in Iowa and more inquiries each year on how to be set free from the shackles of compulsory involvement with the Iowa State Education Association (ISEA). As more teachers disagree with the exclusivity of the unions, they discover that when they are independent the unit can involve ALL of the teachers, not just the ones who join the national and state unions. That model truly makes a representative bargaining unit without the coercion of mandatory union dues to get to vote on local working contracts. Professional Educators of Iowa (PEI) is an association that advocates this model along with local bargaining instead of state and national goals that are so invasive to local needs.
Contact with PEI can be made through www.peiowa.org to learn how educators in all levels of both public and private institutions can have professional representation without all of the union political and gluttonous salary engagement. Iowa has maintained its Right to Work status since 1948, for 65 years now. Right to Work has been attacked and challenged, but the people of Iowa have spoken volumes to the value of choice for working conditions and organizational involvement. The non-union choice to join the professional association as opposed to the unions not only saves every teacher as much as $550/year, but gives the strength of representation security both legally and politically through an association of integrity.
NOTE: Professional Educators of Iowa (PEI) is a professional organization focused on students and advancing the professionalism of educators. PEI is a non-profit, non-partisan, professional organization serving current, retired, and future educators including teachers, administrators, and school support personnel, as well as those in higher education, all of whom are valuable and contributing members of the school community. PEI promotes teachers as professionals who perform a valued public service. PEI does not engage in non-education political activity that may violate members’ personal beliefs. PEI takes positions on education issues after surveying members and receiving a majority vote in support or opposition.
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