Minnesota Teachers Opt Out Period is Sept 24 Through Sept. 30

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Tom Steward previews Education Minnesota’s plan for post-Janus recruiting.

Minnesota is one of 21 states with mandatory monopoly bargaining and compulsory unionism.

The state’s most powerful public employee union — Education Minnesota — has quietly begun laying the groundwork to prevent the potential loss of thousands of members and millions of dollars, depending on the outcome of a landmark labor rights case widely expected to go before the U.S. Supreme Court next term.

As a result, Education Minnesota recently asked its local union representatives to get all 86,000 teachers to sign a “Membership Renewal” form that automatically renews payment of union fees every year unless the teacher remembers to opt out in writing (emphasis added.)

Education Minnesota also plans to raise teachers’ annual dues — now about $615 — by $14 per year inanticipation of the fallout from the Janus case, according to a union representative who contacted the Center of the American Experiment.

The state of Minnesota requires school districts to deduct union dues (or “fair share” fees) from teacher paychecks and deposit the funds with the union.

As part of the effort to get teachers to renew their membership in anticipation of the Janus case, Education Minnesota launched a campaign, “The Power of We.”

“When even one educator opts out of our union, it weakens us all. That means less power, fewer training opportunities and lower wages,” according to the campaign “Talking Points” used to prevent defections from union ranks. The union asked local representatives to meet with teachers and then use “valuebased points” that “speak to that member.” Examples include “Justice,” “Unity” and “Champions.”

Upon their return to the classroom this fall, teachers all across Minnesota will watch a video featuring Specht promoting membership and asking them to sign a renewal card.

The union already has filled out cards for all 86,000 teachers to sign, according to the teacher in contact with the Center.

The fine print at the bottom of the form is hard to read, but it is the key “contractual” language that the union is anxious to renew before the Janus case is decided in 2018. For teachers, the “opt-out” is a narrow, seven-day window from Sept. 24-30.

American Experiment’s research has found government unions all over the country are hoping to slow the loss of members and revenues with this type of “auto-renewal” should Mark Janus win his case.

The Supreme Court is expected to grant or deny the petition from Janus this fall.

 

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