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Union Attacks School Board Member for Sharing AAE
posted by: Cindy Omlin | June 16, 2015, 05:22 PM   

According to reports, the local teachers’ union discovered that Ms. Lichter had intended to share information about the Association of American Educators (AAE) to district employees. Distressed with the union’s commitment to blocking reform, Lichter maintains that sharing AAE would give educators critically needed information. "I think our teachers deserve to have choices," Lichter told reporters.

The union fired back, conjuring up accusations of unfair labor practices against Lichter and claiming that the union’s status as the teachers’ exclusive bargaining agent makes sharing information about another professional association a violation of labor law.

This typical union strong-arm tactic is one that occurs time and time again as AAE membership continues to grow - while union membership declines in many places such as in Idaho where AAE's state partner Northwest Professional Educators (NWPE) serves educators. AAE and NWPE are not unions, but professional associations that do not engage in collective bargaining or partisan politics.  Therefore, the union’s claim that informing teachers of AAE constitutes a breach of the union’s status as the exclusive bargaining agent is completely baseless.

The union uses scare tactics like these against teachers and allies to block dissenting voices and to keep teachers ignorant of their ability to choose an alternative to the union for better nonbargaining benefits at a fraction of the cost.

While we both wish to reach teachers, AAE and its state partners like NWPE offer a fundamentally different type of organization with a unique mission and vision for educators. Our only wish is for teachers to have the information needed to make an informed decision. We are not trying to sign up 100% of teachers, but we are trying to meet the needs of educators whose professional interests and goals would be well served by our association.

Barring AAE and NWPE from events and teacher communication channels mars the free marketplace of ideas and violates teachers' rights under their states’ Right-to-Work statutes which clearly prohibit coercion in the exercise of a teacher’s right to join or refrain from joining a union.

AAE and NWPE proudly provide high-quality benefits designed to help educators grow in their craft as academic professionals.  They are open to both union and nonunion educators and dues are just a fraction of the cost of the union membership.

Ms. Lichter shares that she has been approached by multiple teachers who are incensed at the bullying tactics of their local union leaders.  We applaud Ms. Lichter for her dedication to teacher choice and pledge to continue our work to enhance teacher autonomy and professionalism throughout the United States.

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