A bill blocking teachers from deducting union dues from their own paychecks has passed through both the House and Senate. Educators say their fees cost the state nothing. So, many feel the bill is a direct attack on teachers.
The House Bill 1749 author Rep. Tom Newell, Dist. 28, R, said the state should not allow groups to do collective bargaining with state dollars. He said no other entity besides teacher unions does this.
Chelsea Foo has been teaching for two decades. She is the VP of the Edmond Association of Classroom Teachers and is appalled over a bill to block teachers from deducting union dues from their own paychecks.
"It's really ridiculous, it has no cost, it does not cost our district, it doesn't cost the state, the state actually has absolutely zero involvement in it," Foo said.
But the bill's author Rep. Newell said otherwise. He said the state should not support a group that bargains against it while using state dollars.
Chelsea said only about half the teachers in each school district are even a part of unions, and about $50 for dues comes out of her check monthly.
"It's just easier for us as we don't make an awful lot of money just to take it out of our paycheck at the beginning of each month," Foo said.
Rep. Newell said by collecting dues for the unions, the state is subsidizing the unions.
In a statement he said:
“The principle behind the bill is that the people of Oklahoma should not be forced to collect dues for unions that collectively bargain against the people. Other deductions do not go to unions. Police and fire unions collectively bargain at the local level with local tax dollars. We have not researched the actual cost, but common sense tells us that there is a cost.”
Foo said teacher unions only collectively bargain with their local public schools and they serve as voice for all teachers, union member or not.
"This is about the kids, this is not about money and dues it's about having the best environment for our students and that's our job," Foo said.
The bill now sits on the Governor's desk. Teachers hope Gov. Fallin will veto it on Monday during the Education rally at the State Capitol.