Education Minnesota recently claimed in a tweet that “unlike our neighboring states, educators in Minnesota still enjoy the freedom to join together in union.”
This is inaccurate. Educators in Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Iowa (our neighboring states) can join a teachers’ union/association if they so choose. In fact, until June 2018, Minnesota restricted educators’ freedom of choice by forcing all teachers to financially support the teachers’ union in order to keep their job—unlike our neighboring states.
According to the Wisconsin Education Association Council’s most recently available form 990, the teachers’ union received over $6 million in revenue from membership dues, which shows that educators who wanted to join the union used their freedom to do so.
According to the North Dakota United’s most recently available form 990, the union (who represents both teachers and other public employees) received nearly $3.3 million from membership dues and another $1.3 million from “NEA and AFT support”—which are the two national teachers’ unions that Education Minnesota is also affiliated with. Looks like educators in North Dakota have the freedom to join a union and pay it dues if they choose to.
According to the South Dakota Education Association’s most recently available form 990, the union received nearly $2 million from membership dues, which, the union reports, around 6,400 educators chose to pay to join.
According to the Iowa State Education Association’s most recently available form 990, the union received nearly $13 million from dues and assessments. Again, educators who choose to support ISEA financially through membership have the freedom to do so.
And in all the states mentioned above, including Minnesota, many educators enjoy the freedom to not join a union. But Education Minnesota only celebrates freedom of choice when it benefits them. The freedom to say “no” to a union is just as important as the freedom to say “yes” to one.