The press release came out this morning from the Commonwealth Foundation, with the headline: "Union Abuses Force Philadelphia Teachers to Speak Out." Then, the correction: "Union Abuses Force Philadelphia Area Teachers to Speak Out."
Turns out, the organization couldn't actually get any Philly teachers to gripe publicly about union practices. "Some of [the teachers] are shy right now," said the foundation's Cindy Hamill. She said there were teachers in Avon Grove, Chester County, schools ready to talk, because it was the first year teachers there were required to pay union fees even if they were not interest in joining.
In lieu of a quote, here is what the teachers from Philly theoretically would have said, if there had been any:
September 19th, 2013 – Today, teachers from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh have come together to voice their opposition to unfair teachers' union practices, including automatically taking money from teachers' paychecks, whether they are union members or not – and it is all done at taxpayers' expense.
"[...] because people do need a choice. That's what, originally, our constitution was founded on—that you would have the free choice to be in a group or not. And this has taken that away."
– Jane, Avon Grove School District
Teachers' unions can force many teachers in Pennsylvania to pay dues or a "fair share fee" that's taken out of teachers' paychecks. What's more, this withholding of fair share fees, union dues, and even union political contributions is done at taxpayers' expense, and the teachers have no choice.
This practice has been going on for years in many school districts, while other teachers find themselves newly forced into paying hundreds of dollars for something they don't want.
"We are forced by our employer to pay a private organization to keep our jobs.
To me, it is basically extortion, pay this private entity or lose your job."
– Keith, Conewago Valley School District
Jane, Keith, and other teachers across the state oppose union leaders using them to line their own pockets and push their own political agendas. Matthew Brouillette, president and CEO of the Commonwealth Foundation and a former high school history teacher, commented:
"We would never think of forcing workers to fund private political organizations like the NRA or Planned Parenthood. But tens of thousands of teachers across Pennsylvania are required to pay into union coffers while watching union leaders finance a political agenda they oppose. Taxpayer resources should not be used for any political purposes under any circumstances."
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