BY JOHN THOMPSON
Too often, it is hard to tell the difference between progressive school reformers and Scott Walker, ALEC, and the far right wing.
Maggie Paynich’s Teachers Should Have to Pay Union Dues Out of Pocket is based on even more misinformation than the National Rifle Association’s attack on teachers’ collective bargaining rights, but it is written in the same toxic spirit.
Paynich is unaware of both contract law and the ways that police, firefighters, and others negotiate common sense arrangements for collecting dues for unions and professional organizations. She incorrectly claims that, “Every other entity on the planet has to collect monies on their own, and unions should not get the unfair advantage of ease of payment.”
Paynich inexplicably writes, “I see it as taxpayer dollars going directly into the hands of unions with little or no say or control from the teachers unions are supposed to be protecting.”
According to her reality-free appraisal of these contracts, “This seems like the LEA is paying the union to negotiate the contract with the LEA.”
As Oklahoma conservatives attack the rights of teachers unions – but not other organizations – to engage in this type of legal contract with their employers, the OK2A pro-gun rights organization took a stand that is nearly as dubious as Paynich’s in terms of education policy.
It announced support for HB 1749, which would halt automatic payroll deductions by state agencies for employee dues in any “public employee association or organization or professional organization that … collectively bargains on behalf of its membership.”
They specifically attack the Oklahoma Education Association because “this politically leftist organization has made clear its stance against gun owners’ rights.”
There may be an unintended benefit of the loose talk of reformers and gun rights union-bashers, as they make it clear that they are specifically targeting one type of union because of its political positions.
It bolsters the legal case that will likely be filed by the AFT/OK, probably alleging discriminatory intent in drafting a law aimed at a single target.
– Dr. John Thompson, an education writer whose essays appear regularly at The Huffington Post, currently is working on a book about his experiences teaching for two decades in the inner city of OKC. He has a doctorate from Rutgers University and is the author of Closing the Frontier: Radical Responses in Oklahoma Politics.