by Harold Hutchison
A worker rights group is calling out two powerful teachers unions, claiming that they “hold the education of kids hostage” in a press release.
Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation (NRTWLDF), told the Daily Caller News Foundation that teachers unions like the National Education Association (NEA) and American Federation of Teachers (AFT) are taking advantage of a labor law provision passed in the 1930s for the private sector.
“In several states across the country, union officials, specifically teachers’ union officials, have been granted a really unique privilege called exclusive monopoly bargaining,” Mix said, adding that former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt opposed granting such privileges to public-sector unions while in office.
“Monopoly bargaining,” which grants unions the right to control negotiations for all workers, is enshrined in multiple federal labor laws dating to 1926, according to a NRTWLDF fact sheet.
Mix went on to explain that union officials like Randi Weingarten, the president of AFT, use that power to “have dramatic control over the government school system” despite the 2018 ruling by the Supreme Court in Janus v. AFSCME. The ruling prohibited unions from taking money from public-sector employees for union dues or agency fees without their consent.
"On #SchoolChoiceWeek 2022, the importance of protecting the right of parents to select their own children’s education is more important than ever."
— National Right To Work Foundation (@RightToWork) January 28, 2022
“Independent-minded teachers, those that would exercise their rights under Janus, have to make a decision. On one hand, they can defend their political and ideological rights by resigning their union membership and they have to give up their workplace rights,” Mix said. “They can’t vote in union elections, they can’t run for union office, they can’t vote on the contract that basically governs the conditions of their employment because they’ve decided they don’t want to be a member of the union and the union itself has the monopoly bargaining power to be the sole voice in the workplace.”
“So in order to keep your workplace rights, you have to give up your ideological and political rights. In order to keep your ideological and political rights, you have to give up your workplace rights,” Mix added.
Unions also have employed scare tactics to keep new teachers who might not agree with the political agendas pushed by NEA and AFT, Mix told DCNF. One alleged “scare tactic” centered around liability insurance in the event of something happening to a child in the classroom. Mix added that the teachers unions also claim to offer other benefits like a grievance process. He noted that efforts to provide liability insurance as a benefit for teachers in Tennessee and Virginia were opposed by the teachers unions.
Mix told the DCNF that the NRTWLDF and state think tanks have been informing teachers and other public-sector employees of their rights under the Janus decision, while other organizations including the Christian Educators Association International and the Association of American Educators, are providing benefits for teachers opposed to “abortion on demand and some of the radical positions” the NEA and AFT promote, including liability insurance, professional training, grants and representation in legal matters.
“I think we the people are waking up to the power of government unions, particularly the teachers unions over the last two years,” Mix said, pointing to events in Virginia as one sign.
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Harold Hutchison is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.