CEA Advisor: December 2017 - January 2018

4 CEA ADVISOR DECEMBER 17 - JANUARY 18 ORGANIZING THAT WAS FRIEDRICHS; THIS IS JANUS Why educators must remain active and engaged A lawsuit making its way through the U.S. Supreme Court, Janus v. AFSCME , is designed to weaken unions and erode many of their hard- won benefits, including rights that teachers have enjoyed for decades. The case is expected to be heard in January and a decision rendered by June 2018. Janus seeks to ban the long- established practice of collecting fair share fees. Under our current fair share system, fees are paid by educators who choose not to join the union but who benefit from union representation. Those fees ensure that teachers who reap the rewards of the union’s protection and whose contracts are bargained by their union contribute their fair share for those benefits. Powerful corporations would like to put an end to the protections that employees receive when they are part of a strong union. By eliminating fair share fees, they hope to diminish unions and tilt the playing field in their favor. Foregone conclusion? With the new makeup of the Supreme Court, experts say a ban on fair share is inevitable. But that does not mean an end to unions. A ruling outlawing fair share means unions must work harder than ever to retain members so that their bargaining power does not diminish. A weaker union is catastrophic not only for public school teachers— threatening working conditions, salaries, and benefits—but also for entire schools and the students they serve. Consider this: Four of the nation’s top five states for education—Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Maryland—are also fair share states with top teacher salaries. On the other hand, in states where fair share is banned and unions are weak, class sizes are higher, teachers’ wages are lower, and outcomes for students are often poorer. It doesn’t have to be that way. Stronger together Even if fair share is banned, unions can remain strong—as long as teachers are committed to remaining active and engaged members. Talk to your colleagues about the importance of union membership. When teachers stand together, they stand stronger. To understand the difference between the teaching experience in a fair share state and a state that has banned fair share, see “The Union Pay Advantage,” below. To learn more about the Janus case and how we must stand together, attend a CEA County Forum near you. Forums will be held throughout the state in January. Check cea.org or ask your local president for details. STAND TOGETHER, STAY IN THE KNOW THE UNION PAY ADVANTAGE FAIR SHARE VERSUS “RIGHT TO WORK” Nationally, workers see a significant financial boost as members of a labor union. The states with the highest teacher salaries are all fair share states, which means that while no school employee can be forced to join a union, every employee who benefits from the union’s efforts to bargain fair contracts must contribute. In the 28 non-fair share states, also known as “right to work,” the average teacher salary is $50,301—about $8,000 less than the U.S. average and $22,000 less than the Connecticut average. According to the National Education Association, “right-to-work” laws lower wages for both union and non-union workers by an average of $1,500 per year, after accounting for the cost of living in each state. These laws also decrease the likelihood of employees getting health benefits or pensions through their employer—for both union and non- union workers. TOP STATES FOR TEACHERS’ SALARIES 28 “RIGHT- TO-WORK” STATES Alabama Arizona Arkansas Florida Georgia Idaho Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Michigan Mississippi Missouri Nebraska Nevada North Carolina North Dakota Oklahoma South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Virginia West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming The top average teacher salaries in the U.S. are all in fair share states: New York........................... $79,152 California.......................... $77,179 Massachusetts.................. $76,981 Washington, D.C................ $75,810 Connecticut...................... $72,013 New Jersey. ...................... $69,330 Alaska............................... $67,443 Maryland. ......................... $66,456 Rhode Island..................... $66,197 Pennsylvania..................... $65,151 Teacher salaries are $22,000 higher in Connecticut than in right-to-work states. Voices from Wisconsin In 2011, the lives of Wisconsin teachers changed overnight. Teachers’ contracts were replaced with highly restrictive policy handbooks. In one district, female teachers are required to wear heels and skirts or dresses below the knee. In Kenosha, the contract was reduced to a single page. Wisconsin is not alone. Attacks on collective bargaining rights have taken place in Indiana, Ohio, and elsewhere, as have attacks on teacher tenure, healthcare, and retirement. The idea that this could happen in Connecticut might seem far-fetched. But remember, Wisconsin didn’t see it coming either. Stay politically active. Build community relations. Learn from your colleagues in other states. Go to cea.org/issues/news/2017/aug/02/voices-of-wcea.cfm and watch a powerful video featuring Wisconsin teachers. “RIGHT-TO-WORK” STATES NY $79,152 MD $66,456 CA $77,179 NJ $69,330 MA $76,981 AK $67,443 PA $65,151 CT $72,013 DC $75,810 RI $66,197 ADDITIONAL FAIR SHARE STATES