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Residents Speak Out Against Union Dues Requirement

Residents at the West Chester School District Board meeting speak out against the district's requirement that all teachers pay union dues.

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."

Cathy Binder July 26, 2012 at 01:16 AM
Well Mr.Simon, whatever. All I know is I don't care about it. Clearly this is a big deal to you and your party. Which is all this about in my estimation. What are you all so afraid of? That people won't think for themselves and make an informed decision? From what I know this board has teachers afraid to even teach the process of voting and elections for fear of being accused of being political. What I wonder is how will our high schoolers have any meaningful discussion about politics and the election process this fall? I can see this crowd waiting to pounce the first time a healthy debate is had in a classroom and somebody decides they support a democratic candidate. We all heard the horror story last summer about the teacher this board try to discipline for using her own computer, from her own home, on her own private email account to discuss the board election as a member and taxpayer of the community. That was a violation of her 1st amendment rights. But this board spent taxpayer money to get a lawyer to research this, and still tried to rake her over the coals. I resent that as a taxpayer Mr. Simon. To me this board and your interference as I see it in our community on nothing more than political issues disturbs me. I am sorry, this is about our kids and not political ideology. Shame on you. I get heated on this, because these people are elected to serve our community and children,
Getbacktotherealissues July 26, 2012 at 01:36 AM
I have a headache. I should like to offer Mr. Campbell a Valium and Anger Management courses, as I don't believe "tea with milk and sugar" would cover his issues. I don't think the White House actually has a parking lot...
Simon Campbell July 26, 2012 at 02:45 AM
Hi Helen, I will shortly be mailing all nine (9) members of the West Chester Area School Board a survey on these matters. They can then either answer the survey or refuse to answer it. Their answers or lack of answers will then be publicly posted and sent to the media. Each of them is an individual elected official in their own right and the public should know where they all individually stand. Mrs. Adsett has made her position clear. Now we must move onto the others to flush out their positions. Contrary to those union-loving liberals who think no elected official should espouse a personal view about anything, our democratic system thrives when the exact opposite occurs.
Steve Maher July 26, 2012 at 02:46 AM
The problem with the negotiations is you have people like Simon Campbell getting involved even though he doesn't live in the district. All you need to do is Google his name. He is a FAR RIGHT WING EXTREMIST that has militant ties to the Tea Party! He is controlling the board and right to know requests have been filed for board members that have email correspondence with him! Some of those board members that have been in contact with him are Vince Murphy, Sean Carpenter, Maureen Snook, and Heidi Adsett! The real question is who is paying for the school board's PR team? Who is paying for the school board's newsletter concerning the negotiations? Who is paying for the youtube clips of board members Sean Carpenter and Vince Murphy? Who is paying for Mr. Sultanick to negotiate with the teachers union? YOU ARE! The TAXPAYER! Where is the accountability??? Thank Simon Campbell, Vince Murphy, Sean Carpenter, Maureen Snook, and Heidi Adsett for using OUR TAX DOLLLARS on THEIR RIGHT WING AGENDA!
Simon Campbell July 26, 2012 at 02:57 AM
Compulsory Unionism of any kind is indecent and immoral, Ms. Binder. I am stunned that you care so little for the principle of individual liberty upon which this nation was founded. If a teacher wants to join the Union and pay the dues, god bless them. But nobody, I mean nobody, should ever be forced into financing a Union against their wishes in order to keep their job. That is the point Mrs. Adsett made and it is shocking to me that such a position could be opposed by anyone. The opposition to Mrs. Adsett's beliefs comes from the radical fringe left inside the VOTE committee. And no, the radical fringe left has never had any concern about either children or taxpayers. As to your allegation about a teacher being researched for using a home computer or home email for political purposes at WCASD I have no knowledge of that. I am not a WCASD school board member. And I confidently assure you that no teacher would ever be investigated for such a thing in my school district. You seem confused as to who I am and what I represent. Frankly I think the West Chester Area School Board is populated by liberals who spend too much time worrying about you folk in the fringe left instead of doing the right thing.
Simon Campbell July 26, 2012 at 03:02 AM
Stunningly brilliant articulation from the anonymous blogger. So bold and brave.
Steve Maher July 26, 2012 at 03:15 AM
Oh, and while we are at it Mr. Campbell, how come you never call for the investigation of accountability of cyber charter school money? After all, its public money going to schools that are putting profits over pupils! Look at the corruption of the Angora Cyber Charter School in Devon! Look at the Dorothy June Hairston Brown in Philadelphia! These schools have NO ACCOUNTABILITY! Why? Because Right Wing Extremists like Simon Campbell love Charter Schools! In fact, they want to destroy the traditional public education system so that there are more charters in place! These schools are backed by the Right Wing of the Republican Party with the mantra "For the Children" when its really "For the Money!" Look at the PA Cyber Charter School located off of Paoli Pike in West Chester. It is run by former and current Chester County Republican committee people such as Jim Hanak, Gwenne Alexander, Eileen Rothrock, Bill Middleton, and John Wingerter (until he recently retired). Past board members have included Shannon Royer and current County Commissioner Terrence Farrell! We still do not know how much PUBLIC money is going to educate this students or the salaries of those that run the school! They are draining the school district of millions of dollars and recently the Republican controlled State Legislature voted against Charter School reform! Ask the school board how much money is going to the children and how much is going towards those that run the school? ITS OUR TAX DOLLARS!
Simon Campbell July 26, 2012 at 03:19 AM
Mr. Maher, please try some herbal tea with milk and sugar to calm yourself down. It's perfectly normal to oppose the forced seizure of dues from non-Union teachers' paychecks. Only a lunatic would think that sounds OK. And when you capitalize your speech you do come across like a ranting lunatic. By the way, I'll get involved in anything I feel like getting involved with. But if you don't like it then feel free to file a complaint against the First Amendment. You seem to think that negotiations should be handled by Union-elected board directors who don't hire a professional attorney. Well that's a recipe for financial ruin as all too many school districts are finding out. IBM and Apple don't handle $200 million contract negotiations by saying "let's send the unpaid untrained volunteers in there and let them do it." Kind of a silly idea really. As to the idea of accountability that comes at the ballot box, old chap. It's called elections. Just run some radical leftists promising to find all the free money and sing kumbaya with Union bosses to help close an $18 million budget shortfall and see how many votes you get. The thing is, I assure you that the radical Union-loving fringe left to which you belong really isn't that popular in the community.
Steve Maher July 26, 2012 at 03:35 AM
Simple Simon, ahhh... a new name! Anyway, Simple Simon, where is the charter school accountability? Oh wait, there is none coming from you or your ilk! Its all about trying to destroy public education as we know it! Regarding the contract negotiations, that is what the current school board members were elected to do. Its something that they ran on in 2009 but I guess, like usual, you don't have all of your facts! And who are these "Union elected board members" that you speak of? So maybe I should type is CAPS because you don't seem to understand what is going on. Maybe you could blame that on your high school guidance counselor on why you haven't answered any of my questions! Or maybe yet, Simple Simon, that is why you don't like like public education in America because you didnt get that in the United Kingdom where you are from! How are we letting a non American citizen attacking our American values? Simon Campbell is not an American! He doesn't sound like one or talk like one! He doesn't know anything about America but he criticizes our way of life!
Steve Maher July 26, 2012 at 03:46 AM
And Simple Simon the right to know requests of your email correspondence to members of the West Chester Area School Board should be interesting! I cannot wait to publish them! Typical Brits! They don't know when to shut up! Have a good one mate!
Simon Campbell July 26, 2012 at 04:36 AM
Mr. Maher, you're a bizarre chap. While I enjoy a hearty debate with the radical left because they are incapable of debating an issue, I don't have time for loons. You actually believe in "gotcha!" and the most amusing thing is the look of confusion at the yawn the left get from me in response. I said something? Oh no, what a shocker! If I had a dime for every vile personal attack I've received over the years by the radical left I'd be a rich guy. Simon Campbell is not an American? Are you for real? Like I have any patience for that. I don't even sound like an American? What are you, some kind of racist? You folk are your own worst enemy.
Heidi Adsett July 26, 2012 at 04:49 AM
John Galt 12:12 pm on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 Union playbook, page 1 1. Use words such as "discuss openly and honestly" but use a pseudonym when you blog. 2. Tell others that they must be civil in their tone, but continue to call others that don't share our view names. Does anyone see a little hypocrisy here? Of course we need unions. Who else is going to keep their playbook up to date? Looks like Steve is following the playbook! Good for you, Steve! You get to share in a portion of the results with those who did not contribute! Union Rules!!! Only some contribute, but all benefit! So if only some study for the exam, we "share the results of the score"? I hope you don't teach in WCASD. Oh wait! Aren't you in UCF?
Cathy Binder July 26, 2012 at 11:32 AM
I am confused. I do not think there is any forced membership to the union in West Chester. So why are you so hepped up about this Mr. Campbell? Have you talked to the union members in MY community? What have they told you? Have you asked the 14 individuals who have not joined of the 963 who have why not? Have you sent a survey to the 963 about their attitudes and if they have felt compelled, or do not feel they are getting a bang for their buck? Tell me sir, I am just curious? You speak of individual liberties, but again, I am not sure if the only thing you are doing is trying to union bust. You also ignore that the union does offer many good things to the teachers, why are you so loathe to appreciate that aspect. It is not all negative. And what is so ironic, this is a district with the lowest taxes in the county, high test scores and teachers that if you were to put their salaries on the scale are not even the highest paid for the product they deliver. So, my position stands, what is your agenda. I think while we have a minority contingent in this community that is supportive of your ideology most of us are not starry eyed liberal whackos. We support public education, or teachers, and our community. We want the best for our kids, not a mediocre product. WE appreciate that good employees don't come cheap, and to attract the best costs. Sorry, I don't think I am alone in this.
Simon Campbell July 26, 2012 at 12:37 PM
Ms. Binder, I appreciate your Union ghost-writer having you pen something for you to post. Really I do. It's just that it's so completely different from the very first comment you wrote at the beginning of this page that it's extremely obvious what's going on. I am uninterested in your Union's view of its own worth. That should be a matter for each individual employee to decide for themselves. The point is simple. Nobody should be forced to finance a Union they are not a member of. Period. End of discussion. You can label it union-busting or whatever you like. But George Washington took no survey when he was rowing across the Delaware in the name of individual freedom, and none is needed here. If there are only 14 individuals who don't belong to the Union I have no idea how it could be called Union-busting to no longer force them to pay dues. Perhaps you can explain. And the Maintenance of (Union) Membership provision inside the contract is a whole other subject we could get into. That's a serious liability risk to both the Union and the School District on Constitutional grounds. The bottom line is that liberals who support Compulsory Unionism are far-left extremists because they support coercion and compulsion as a means to facilitate Union power. Well, coercion is wrong. Freedom is good.
Simon Campbell July 26, 2012 at 12:59 PM
And there are plenty of people Ms. Kaliner who believe you have no idea how to be Treasurer of a POLITICAL COMMITTEE. You should look up the word "Expenditure" in campaign finance law before you write $250 VOTE checks to the Melton Center to "sponsor summer basketball team". Section 1621 (25 P.S. § 3241). Definitions. "(d) The word “expenditure” shall mean: (1) The payment, distribution, loan or advancement of money or any valuable thing by a candidate, political committee or other person for the purpose of influencing the outcome of an election; (2) The payment, distribution, loan, advance or transfer of money or other valuable thing between or among political committees; (3) The providing of a service or other valuable thing for the purpose of influencing the outcome of a nomination or election of any person to any public office to be voted for in this Commonwealth; or (4) The payment or providing of money or other valuable thing by any person other than a candidate or political committee, to compensate any person for services rendered to a candidate or political committee." And try this, Ms. Kaliner: Section 1634.1 (25 P.S. § 3254.1). Lawful Election Expenses. No candidate, chairman or treasurer of any political committee shall make or agree to make any expenditure or incur any liability, except as provided in section 1621(d). Hmmmm. Have you read the penalties section of the law?
Simon Campbell July 26, 2012 at 01:11 PM
Ms. Kaliner, the only politicization around this issue comes from those individuals such as yourself who wish to see WCASD continue the practice of using governmental resources to assist a private organization's political activities. Such an activity is not an appropriate use of governmental resources. Pennsylvania state law (Act 195 of 1970) makes the issue of dues deduction, negotiable, at contract time. There is no reason why the Union should not be told to collect it's political money away from the school district. The fact that you support the Union dues collection service reflects a far-left ideology not in keeping with the view of most people; which is that public school districts exist to educate students ...not help pay Union lobbyists salaries in Harrisburg and Washington D.C.
Cathy Binder July 26, 2012 at 02:12 PM
My issues are really only about this board negotiating the contract, not arguing about union dues blah, blah. This to me is stupid and not what I have these people on the board to work on. They are to be supporting my child's education. By all measures the teachers and administrators of this district are delivering a high quality product. Your issues are your own, and I resent you interfering in my community in this way. That is my first amendment right to express that point of view. This is political garbage in my estimation done with an agenda and it has nothing to do with kids.
Simon Campbell July 26, 2012 at 02:18 PM
Union dues are just one of many items to be negotiated. Not the only one by any imagination. Exhausted thread at this point.
Last July 26, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Word
Americans for Liberty July 26, 2012 at 03:10 PM
John Galt, Thank you for your comment. I respect the teachers enough not to identify them specifically, and have not particularly spoken out about my experience until now. This does happen to be a protected tenure teacher. I actually took two classes with this particular teacher, one before receiving tenure and one after. The quality of teaching diminished dramatically in that second year. I am certainly disheartened by the quality of some teachers in the district. I wish I could say there was only this one teacher I had a poor experience with, but sadly this is not the case.
Helen Weber July 26, 2012 at 03:27 PM
Steve, why are you such a bigot and why are you against immigrants? As one whose family immigrated to this country because they loved freedom and they pledged their allegiance to this country (for which I am most grateful) I am very offenced by people such as yourself who cannot help but expose their prejudices.
Simon Campbell July 26, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Common sense suggests a simple solution. Individual professional educators should all be hired individually and at-will. Just eliminate the Unions. The forces of supply and demand will then naturally work to ensure that hard-to-recruit high school physics teachers are paid more than easy-to-recruit gym teachers. And by negotiating individual contracts themselves each professional educator can negotiate for merit-based pay based upon whatever local criteria the two parties agree upon. Mr. Obama wouldn't need to fret about how to issue a merit-pay directive from Washington D.C. And by having individual contracts for professional educators the poor performers could be let go. And no teacher would be forced to finance left-wing political activity in order to keep their job. In other words, collective bargaining is fine on a factory floor where all workers are making widgets; but inside our public schools it is a joke. It eliminates all forces of supply and demand and it encourages institutionalized mediocrity. When you point this reality out to liberals they say words like "Be fair to teachers". Then, when you ask these liberals "Which teachers? The good ones or the bad ones?" that's when they grunt and say something about the tea party. Talking of which it's time for my morning brew.
Helen Weber July 26, 2012 at 03:35 PM
And I resent the PSEA and the NEA getting involved in politics with the money that is collected by the payroll department of the West Chester Area School District which I do fund.
Last July 26, 2012 at 03:36 PM
I said "word" Helen.
Last July 26, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Oh, I meant "Simon says word."
Mother Mary Harris Jones July 27, 2012 at 11:08 PM
Interesting posts. I would have to agree with Mr. Campbell & recommend the herbal tea with honey to calm everyone down a bit.
Mother Mary Harris Jones July 27, 2012 at 11:32 PM
I don't even know where to begin with all of you! First, I agree with Cathy Binder, the issue IS the WCASD board negotiating the teacher contract. What I don't understand is how she cannot see that the union dues issue is PART of that contract, & that it is important for the board to hear how taxpayers feel about it. As a taxpayer/resident living within the WCASD borders, I do not want my school district to incur expenses if teachers/unions wish for union dues to be deducted from their paychecks. It increases costs in the payroll department & money is needlessly shuffled from the district to the union. If there are higher administration costs, that is less money for student programs & services.
Mother Mary Harris Jones July 27, 2012 at 11:33 PM
The union is decidedly political, teachers & school boards are supposed to be apolitical. If all of the adult teachers wish to be union members & pay their fair share or full dues to the union, then let them choose to have dues automatically withdrawn like they do for mortgages or car payments. The tax collector does not shuffle my money to my professional membership organization, nor does my employer, I pay the fee directly. Let teachers do that too. Why is this such an offensive idea? I do not believe that every union dues paying teacher or other staff really wishes to be part of the teachers union. The whole point of Mrs. Adestt's excellent editorial was to shed light on the fact that teachers/staff are basically being forced to pay dues by making it almost impossible to opt out of the automatic withholding of dues. Some staff do not wish to be union members, & to opt out is excessively difficult, not nearly as easy as some on these pages would have you believe. While you may not think there is any "forced membership", Ms. Binder, I find it hard to believe that is the case. What teacher would want to stand up & say they want out of the union & incur the hassle of "coming out"? I would think none.
Mother Mary Harris Jones July 27, 2012 at 11:51 PM
I hate this silly word limit.For a mother who is passionate about children & their welfare, it is hard to get all of my thoughts into one of these boxes. My understanding of the teacher situation last summer is that a teacher used district resources for political purposes.An investigation should be opened for that infraction. Mrs. Adsett,you wrote an excellent editorial!If a board member writes something,I think it is imperative for taxpayers to see that the person they elected is fighting for the students they swore to support, so using your "title" is perfectly acceptable.If you had not,some on these pages would slam you for not using it, so you really cannot win either way. As to the issue at hand,WCASD board,please negotiate the best contract you can. Thank you for using an expert to work out details to protect the interests of the students & taxpayers.Please get something into the contract that does not reward the teachers Americans for Liberty had to contend with when attending WCASD schools. If the contract were to go the way the union would have it, those teachers will receive increases for filing nails & figuring out coaching schedules when they should have been teaching. Lastly,I know who Mr. Campbell is too.He is passionate about the freedoms this country has to offer all of its citizens, & is a strong advocate for children Keep up the great work, sir, & let me know when you want to move into the district,we'll start the collection!
Cathy Binder August 15, 2012 at 12:53 AM
Mrs. Jones, the teacher you refer to used her own computer, on her own time, in her own home, using her own service provider. The district was advised that she was well within her first amendment rights to do what she did. Sorry. I do not want the teachers to be restricted in their constitutional rights. No way, this is America, and they are citizens of this nation. Second, the laws as they stand allow for fair share. In the end like it or not those who do not belong to the union do benefit from the contract. The amount of dues is not a negotiation point, and has nothing to do with negotiations. As far as if the district should or should not collect them, well that is up for debate. I could really care less and doubt it would matter. But honestly I don't think it costs the district. I think we largely misinterpret as citizens and believe there is this ugly animosity between the union and the administration. I think that is what this board would like all to think. In reality the union and administration clearly must work pretty well together as our test scores are high, and I see highly professional people working with my kids. Perfection, no. But I do not see perfection in my work place either. At least with a union contract I know that women and minorities are getting paid equally for service and education. But I suspect there is an old boys network at work here in other areas as well.

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