My name is Robin Fought and I am a Science teacher in Chester County. I have worked in my school district for 17 years and “Fair Share” was never in our contract until this year.
There are about 50 teachers in our district who do not belong to the union. It was very difficult to find out who those people were because that information is only known by the union. It took several “Right to Know” requests to finally get that list so we could organize to help fight what we feel is a First Amendment rights violation. Most of the members of the local union are not aware of their rights and feel that they must belong as a provision of their employment.
I resent having to pay dues (“agency fee”) to a union that I do not support or need. The PSEA and NEA have pressured local chapters to include Fair Share in their contracts for fear of declining union membership.
To my surprise, our school district resources as well as my tax money are being used to deduct not only union dues, but political action committee funds for PSEA-PACE that go to candidates that I do not support. Even our regular union dues fund organizations that many of us disagree with, like the AFL-CIO and SEIU.
The union must also protect any teacher’s job, with my “fair share” fee going to hire high-priced attorneys. It doesn’t matter what the disciplined teacher’s infraction is, even if he or she violated another union member’s rights.
The union provides nothing to the employee but insists that membership is needed to protect against liability from parents and overzealous administrators. New teachers are intimidated and pressured into joining when they are hired. A union application is even given to them when they sign their contract. In my view, PSEA/ NEA promotes mediocrity, not excellence.
Robin H. Fought
Public School Science Teacher