Back in 2011 Wisconsin teachers were taking over the state house protesting Gov. Scott Walker’s Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill, also known as Act 10 which among other things gave teachers the right NOT to join the union. Teachers have for the last three years been able to opt out and about one third of teachers have told the union goodbye.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that “after Act 10, WEAC [Wisconsin Education Association Council] has lost about a third of its approximately 98,000 members and AFT- Wisconsin (another teachers union) is down to about 6,500 members from its peak of approximately 16,000.
Prescott High School special education teacher Michelle Uetz has a message for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker: Thank you.Despite losing the policy battle, the union still pressures teachers to join, according to some interviewed by EAG.
Uetz never appreciated how she was forced by state law to join and pay dues to the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC), the statewide teachers union, and it wasn’t until the governor’s Act 10 was passed in 2011 that she was free to dump the affiliation.
“It’s important to have a choice, because we are all professionals. We shouldn’t be pigeon-holed into contributing to politics we don’t believe in,” Uetz told EAGnews. “I think it’s a very good thing.”
Uetz is among a wave of Wisconsin educators who dropped their union memberships in the wake of Act 10, for a variety of reasons.
Chief among them is WEAC’s partisan political alliance with the state’s Democratic Party, which went to war with Walker and Republican lawmakers in 2011 in an attempt to halt Act 10’s impact on collective bargaining and union privileges.
“I worked with a young teacher who was thinking of leaving the union and she was actually scared to leave,” Deena Ferguson, a teacher at Fox Prairie Elementary, in Stilton, told the site, adding that WEAC often uses fear to recruit new teachers, suggesting they need protection from administrators.The real truth is this is the real reason the Unions fought against Governor Walker's legislation is they were afraid that teachers would figure out the Unions' priority was self-preservation of Unions' leadership. And that is exactly what they have discovered, which is why teachers are running away from the teacher's unions.
“If the union is so beneficial and good, people will want to join on the principle and the merits and not be forced to join,” she said.