Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Newspaper: Investigate union use of members' dues

Liberals are always crying about special interests groups and lobbyists influencing legislation, but the reality is that among the biggest special interest groups/lobbyists are teachers unions.

Pennsylvania's largest teachers union is planning to force members to pay higher dues without any transperancy on how the union will use that money.

A must-read editirial entitled "Teacher shakedown" in The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
One of the most powerful special-interest groups in Harrisburg will reach deeper into its members' pockets, raising anew questions of where this money is going.

The Pennsylvania State Education Association, the state's largest teachers union, plans to raise annual dues for its 191,000 members by about 11 percent.

Union "expenses" along with the recession and teacher furloughs are among reasons for the PSEA's first dues hike since 1982, says spokesman Wythe Keever.

The "need," if not the timing, is entirely suspicious.

For the PSEA to flourish, aside from forcing members' dues, it must influence legislation that, in turn, secures larger sums of public money for schools and, consequently, the union.

Teachers "should be concerned about how the PSEA is using their dues to lobby -- obviously if the PSEA is using dues to promote issues and candidates they don't support ... ," writes Nathan Benefield of the Commonwealth Foundation.

And the salad days for public school spending, which exploded under Gov. Ed Rendell, could be numbered. Gov.-elect Tom Corbett, a proponent of school choice, puts school results ahead of dollars.

Pennsylvania's public school teachers, forced to pay more, should be concerned -- and smart enough to recognize a shakedown when they see it.

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