February 10, 2021

Bill Targeting Teacher Union Dues Advances To Senate Floor

Original story from   IPBS-RJC

Article origination IPBS-RJC
Teachers rallied at the Statehouse multiple times in 2019 to demand more school funding and compensation for teachers.  - Chelsea Wardrop/WTIU

Teachers rallied at the Statehouse multiple times in 2019 to demand more school funding and compensation for teachers.

Chelsea Wardrop/WTIU

Indiana teachers could see extra steps to pay union dues in the future if a bill headed to the Senate floor succeeds. Testimony weeks ago sparked lengthy debate about the contentious measure. 

The bill would make teachers sign forms each summer allowing their union to automatically deduct dues from paychecks. The forms would include bold-font language informing them of their rights to not join a union and if teachers forget to renew, their membership would lapse. 

Senators voting for the measure said it would help teachers make “informed decisions” about their dues and membership. Testimony from anti-union groups suggested teachers could forget about the automatic paycheck deductions and end up paying them against their will.

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Indiana State Teachers Association President Keith Gambill said it’s trying to solve a nonexistent problem and will only direct more funding away from teaching supplies. 

“Staff time that’s going to have to be devoted from school districts is staff time off of other work that would’ve been assigned,” he said. “That money ends up coming out of the classroom and it’s hurting kids.”

A representative for ISTA noted in testimony that, of roughly a dozen deductions that could be taken from paychecks, union dues were the only ones being targeted by legislators. 

The bill passed the committee on a mostly party line 6-4 vote with Sen. Greg Walker (R-Columbus) being the only Republican member who voted against. 

Contact reporter Justin at jhicks@wvpe.org or follow him on Twitter at @Hicks_JustinM.

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