Several residents of the spoke out against the district’s current requirement that forces all nonunion teachers to pay union dues in order to keep their jobs at Monday’s school board meeting.
Several residents argued that the practice should be eliminated from the next teachers’ contract in the on-going negotiations, and that teachers shouldn’t be forced to contribute money to political groups they do not support.
In a letter to the Daily Local, school board vice president Hedi Adsett wrote:
“I contend that teachers should be free to choose whether or not they wish to financially support the union. Compulsory dues should not be forced upon any public employee by contractual agreement between elected officials and union officials.”
She goes on to write:
“This money gets used by the state (PSEA) and national (NEA) teacher unions for various political lobbying activities, and under a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case it can also be used for independent campaign expenditures.”
However, not every resident agreed with Adsett.
District resident Robin Kaliner said that she didn’t necessarily support unions, but that she was curious as to why the board was making such a big deal out of something she perceived as small.
“The amount of money spent on this by the district is insignificant compared to health care, pension and salary costs,” Kaliner said. “So why is this issue so much more important?”
Kaliner went on to argue that the move was a conscious one by the board to decrease the political power of the unions.
“You are using the school district to promote your own political aspirations,” Kaliner said. “You are making decisions based on ideology.”
Adsett shot back saying she supports the teachers’ union, but she thinks the compulsory dues violate teachers’ first amendment rights.
In her letter to the Daily Local Adsett wrote:
"I am bound by my oath of office to uphold and defend the First Amendment to the Constitution. I believe it is un-American to approve a collective bargaining agreement that compels dues payments out of any current or prospective nonunion teacher’s paycheck."