Chicago teachers have alternatives to union
The growing number of educators opting out of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) teachers' union may be on the verge of accelerating with the help of the non-union Association of American Educators (AAE) organization.
Established in 1994, AAE “focuses on student achievement without an emphasis on partisan politics,” all at what the largest national organization of its kind bills as at a reasonable price. The nonprofit organization also touts itself as promoting greater classroom professionalism in a diverse setting where all students feel comfortable enough to excel. AAE currently has members in all 50 states.
Since June 2018 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Janus vs. AFSCME overturned a 40-year old decision that allowed government unions to charge fees for representing non-members in collective-bargaining negotiations, the Chicago Teachers’ Union (CTU) has been steadily losing membership. Just months after the verdict was rendered, Illinois Policy Institute reported at least 300 former members had ceased paying dues and walked away. The group's website pegs annual public-sector union dues in the neighborhood of $700.
Chicago City Wire recently told the story of a CPS substitute teacher who opted out of the system amid claims that in the two years the teacher was a dues-paying union member, a union official never made contact.
"I don't know who the [union] leadership was," said the substitute, speaking on condition of anonymity. "I've never been contacted."
AAE also prides itself on its rule of not engaging in any collective-bargaining talks on behalf of members or using dues money for political causes.
“We believe that collective bargaining focuses on what’s best for adults, not necessarily students,” the group states on its website.
Open to any worker employed by an “educational entity,” the organization also accepts associate/support memberships from parents, business leaders and legislators.
The Illinois Policy Institute has created Leave My Union for other public sector employees looking to opt out of their unions.
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