Saturday, December 15, 2012

Reform UFT Dues, Hold UFT Leaders Accountable

There are 3500 agency fee UFT members, people who refuse to join the union but must pay dues since NY State is not a right to work state.
That's a surprising number of people willing to give up basic union rights. Imagine if NY were a right to work state.  If you think the right wing won't be coming to NY State at some point pushing right to work laws after their victory in Michigan you are not living in the real world. I know that we will probably not see a Republican legislature but they will probably focus on just the teacher union and might get some good play. Think of appeal to newer teachers of right to work laws when they have to pay the same dues as people making double what they are. Can't you just see the astro turf groups like E4E jumping on that bandwagon?

I'm heading off to the MORE meeting where the basic platform will be addressed and most likely ratified. Last might after the ICE meeting I realized that we have never really addressed the regressive UFT dues structure where everyone pays the same rather than based on salary. I'm going to bring this up today. Maybe there's a good argument for not having a progressive dues structure but I want to hear it.

Worst of all, Unity has managed to make dues increases automatic so the members never get to vote as they used to before Unity changed the constitution so members, not even the Unity stacked DA, don't get to hold the leadership accountable for how much they pay themselves or where they spend the money.

Here is my proposal for the MORE Platform:
End automatic dues increases without member votes and reform the regressive dues structure that penalizes the lowest paid teachers.

Recently on ICE mail, one guy asked how he could resign from the UFT and that caused some controversy since he is an experienced UFT member but just so fed up with Unity he seemed willing to walk away from the union even though he has to pay dues.

My feeling is that the UFT leadership through not allowing members to vote on the eval deal will help lead us down the road to destruction unless there is serious reform at all structural levels of the union.


  1. How do you become an agency fee payer? Doesn't the UFT still have to represent you?

  2. The Union does have the obligation to represent agency fee payers in workplace issues but they may be excluded from internal union matters. They do pay less dues than union members since political and other non-union expenses must be calculated and deducted from their check-off.

    Interestingly under the DA vote last Wednesday agency fee payers and union members have the same right to vote on our evaluations.....none!


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