Unsold on union benefits and politics, this school support staffer opted out
Citing her impending retirement and disagreement with her union’s politics, an elementary school employee told McLean County Times that opting out of the union was an easy decision.
“I opted out because I am retiring in a year and our current contract goes for two more years,” she said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “I also don't share the same political view as the union and don't want my money supporting their candidates.”
This office worker once belonged to the Clerical Union: Unit Five Support Professionals Association. She was able to opt out of the union after last summer’s Janus vs. AFSCME ruling, which prohibited public-sector unions from deducting agency fees from non-members’ paychecks.
She is one of hundreds who recently went the non-union route, according to an article published by the Illinois Policy Institute.
“It’s little wonder hundreds of CPS teachers and staff don’t want to financially support the union,” the institute's article read. “The actions of union leadership have been detrimental to students, parents and teachers.”
The fees had been legal for decades, ostensibly to pay for collective bargaining activity that benefitted union non-members. But with the recent SCOTUS decision in place, unions can no longer charge non-members, even if they, too, benefit from union negotiations.
This office worker told McLean County Times that she was never a union backer, but had to pay for its political lobbying for years.
“I was not in favor of the union when it was first introduced,” she said. “Our salaries were so low, the thought of having more taken out was not appealing.”
But she admits the collective bargaining did have some good aspects.
“It has done good things for our salaries and benefits, but I'm not sure that just a committee could have negotiated for that and got the same results,” she said.