In my district we have what is called 'agency shop' which means that you can
forego being a member of the union, but you will still pay part of the union
dues. The union negotiates for everyone regardless. We are American
Federation of Teachers (which I affectionately call the "I don't think so"
union...we stare people down in a professional manner), and the 'opposing'
union, NEA is always trying to oust us. We ousted them, and it's been a tug
o' war since. I think in the long run,however, that everyone has benefited
(community, students and teachers) by the competition. Funny thing, the AFT
became a major force when the 'men' in our school were tired of working two
jobs to make ends meet. Salary and benefits needed to keep up with our
society. Traditionally women had taken teaching jobs as a second income to
be in the same 'time frame' as their children, and/or because it was one of
the few professions where women were treated equally in terms of salary.
When the economy and society became more aware and more equitable for women
in the workforce, fewer women were opting to become teachers as a career
(one of the few career choices offered to me in the 60-70's, that plus
secretary and nursing...I was too short to be a stewardess). I once heard a
commentator on the radio say that smart women no longer decide to be
teachers as their options are now open. As our salary guide has become more
and more attractive, we are able to attract a whole variety of people to our
school. For the 3 art positions that were opened in our school we had over