Monday, November 19, 2012

N.C. teacher unions: Weak, but ...

The impact of North Carolina teacher unions,  or even whether there is such a thing,  is a frequent point of debate on this blog.  A recent study on the strength of U.S. teacher unions,  done by The Fordham Institute and Education Reform Now,  indicates there's good reason for the back-and-forth.

North Carolina got a weak overall rating  (read the state profile here),  with relatively low membership and financing for the N.C. Association of Educators and  "the most restrictive bargaining laws in the nation."

"It is one of only five states that prohibit collective bargaining in education," the report says. "No union or professional association may collect agency fees from non-members. The state does not allow teacher strikes."

But the study notes that many in North Carolina perceive the influence of the union to be strong,  and that the state's laws are more aligned with traditional union interests than those of most other states.

"North Carolina does not support performance pay, does not require districts to consider teacher performance in determining layoffs, and does not include student learning in tenure decisions. Further, teachers are dismissed due to poor performance at a lower rate than most other states."

The report,   released just before the election of Republican Pat McCrory as governor,  notes that union influence is likely to decline further with the departure of Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue.

South Carolina's union standing was rated among the nation's weakest  (read the S.C. profile here).


Anonymous said...

Don't you LOVE how the NCAE is constantly proclaiming itself to be 'NOT a UNION' when we ALL know its a great BIG LIE! The NCAE is EVIL like ALL UNIONs these days! How do those people sleep at night?

Anonymous said...

If we had an educator's union in North Carolina educators would be treated more like the professionals we are. Without a union we are at the mercy of CMS executives. We have all witnessed the way CMS executives use out of context numbers, baffle them with B.S. and blame the public, parents and county leadership to cover up for CMS woes. Without a union the community is as helpless and must stand by and watch the deterioration of CMS while the executives get six figure salaries to run an organization that will continue no matter who is running it or how badly or how much the executives are paid. Perhaps the new Chief of Communications will be able to spin CMS into a more positive light after receiving many thousands of dollars from the Broad Foundation.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous, Teacher Unions are the reason we have lottery's in NC and SC. While the unions promised overflowing buckets of money for K-12 education, and all the teachers crying for them, the gambling industry laughed, and is still laughing all the way to the bank. I got a newsflash for you, public education in NC and SC is so messed up without unions contributing to the fiasco. I am so thankful we DON't have unions to murky the water. They are a joke, and don't do anything but cost even more taxpayer money.

Wiley Coyote said...


I can assure you that you would be treated like those union members who just helped Hostess put over 18,000 people out of work.

Only about half of Hostess workers were union but now 100% have no jobs.

Unions are the bane of America.

All one has to do is look at the recent teacher strike in Chicago to get a full dose of how "helpless a community can be" at the hand of union thugs.

Anonymous said...

6:44 is correct. There are no teacher unions in NC. Period. End of story.

Skippy said...

6:44 - did you miss the memo, CMS executives are liberals... Joke is on you.

Anonymous said...

"North Carolina does not support performance pay, does not require districts to consider teacher performance in determining layoffs, and does not include student learning in tenure decisions."

Come January the Legislature begins their all-out assault on teachers and their profession. Those things mentioned above will be changed; with a supermajority the Republicans will have no reason to listen to anyone, period. Not that they would listen to the NCAE anyway. Only hope is that they are reasonable and understand that any changes must be gradually phased-in. If not then the one thing the NCAE will be good for would be a lawsuit. Just remember, career status (not tenure, people) is a property right and due process must be followed.

Wiley Coyote said...


So that explains CMS' dismal graduation rate and achievement gap over the past 40 years...

They are phasing it in...

Anonymous said...

From the report -

"teachers are dismissed due to poor performance at a lower rate than most other states."

Anonymous said...

I am a long term educator. I taught in unionized states as well as in non-unionized states. Want to know a big difference besides pay? Recently 18 students started showing up on my attendance roster for the first semester. The reason? The instructor teaching them in not licensed in the subject area being taught but I am. So, I am now the teacher of record of students that I never see and will never see yet when the CO, Helms, and NCDPI publish test results, guess which teacher will be associated with these students. Would you like to discuss pay-for- performance?

Anonymous said...

"North Carolina does not support performance pay, does not require districts to consider teacher performance in determining layoffs, and does not include student learning in tenure decisions. Further, teachers are dismissed due to poor performance at a lower rate than most other states."

How much more backwards can NC get???

Garth Vader said...

"All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for officials to bind the employer. The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives."

- Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1937

Anonymous said...

@ 11:08
I think you should be held accountable for the test scores of students that you do not teach just so the admin and distrct can skirt the law.

Anonymous said...

My wife has been a teacher in CMS for almost 20 years and has never paid union dues nor benefited in any way from any union. For all intents and purposes, there is NO union that benefits and/or hinders teachers or affects instruction in any way shape or form.

Any union or alleged union involving CMS students or teachers impacts so few people that it might as well not exist.

Anonymous said...

There's so much wrong information in this article AND the comments - I cannot even begin to address it. Society is going to pay dearly for this undeserved war on teachers. It is so sad. I marvel anyone is left to teach your children.

Anonymous said...

NCAE is not a union by any means. It thinks it is. You cannot even have a meaningful conversation with its leader as he speaks broken english. Many teachers have never even heard of this group either. They represent a minority group and its clear look at their leadership history.

Anonymous said...


Stop being a "co-conspirator" and report the law-breaking to Ann or someone.

blockhead1 said...

There are several anti-union comments here. Let me set you straight.

Whenever you see the word union, substitute in your mind, the word workers. Or people.

Now, understand what you owe to unions: your 40-hour work week; health insurance; paid vacations; no child labor; workplace safety rules.

Understand that the reason North Carolina has high unemployment is that it has the nation's lowest union rate. Sound strange? Not really. The state's traditional anti-union laws and union hatred has for the last 100 years, attracted industries interested only in cheap, docile labor. As soon as cheaper, more submissive labor could be found elsewhere - Mexico, Asia, Africa - they flew the coop. Same for industries that have replaced people with technology. Hence, our anti-union stand has only served to drive up unemployment. One of the lowest unemployment rates? New York, with one of the highest union rates.

Hostess' bankruptcy? Glad you mentioned that. You might have noticed that the executives of the company approved 80% pay increases for themselves last year, while asking workers to take 25% pay cuts and gutting their pension plans. Yet the bankruptcy is the workers fault? I think not.

Wise up people. Most of you replying here are not rich. Like it or not, you're suffering from the lack of unions.

Anonymous said...


Please stop parroting the pay increase - it simply is not true and it discredits everything you say.

I won't even mention that NY is at 41/50 and we are 47/50. None of the top 10 states with highest Union workers are in the top 10 of lowest unemployment. 5 are in the bottom 10 and only 1 (Hawaii) is in the top 25.

Let me guess - my comment changed your thinking? Or will you continue to justify?

CMSteacher said...

We do not have a teachers' union. We have professional organizations that can lobby on teachers' behalf but have no legal recourse to block decisions made at the state or local level. We do not have collective bargaining rights. The state and districts make decisions and unless teachers can successfully lobby the legislature (not likely) whatever the state or district decide becomes policy. (translates to "Bend over") We are a right-to-work state meaning we can be terminated easily. We cannot strike. We do not have union reps. North Carolina does not have a teachers union.

Anonymous said...



CMeS is all about false data and damned lies with the statistics. So much rampant abuse goes on that taxpayers have no idea about. Unions are one thing but the WASTE of taxpayer money is above all else. When will the general public learn and demand accountablity from those making over $100 GRAND, with little to no impact on students in the classroom.

Anonymous said...

Two thirds of teachers in NC do not belong to NCAE. Stop punishing everyone in order to get political retribution. It's unfair.

Anonymous said...

Who is getting punished?

blockhead1 said...

anonymouse at 3:19, sadly, none of what you say is true. Here is what just moved over the Associated Press wire two hours ago, about Hostess:

Hostess Brands, the maker of sweet snacks like Twinkies that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week, will ask a bankruptcy judge today to approve a plan that will allow it to pay $1.75 million in bonuses to 19 of its executives. The unions are now protesting Hostess’ request for the bonuses, though they are unlikely to prevail, CNN Money reports:

Under the plan, bonuses ranging from $7,400 to $130,500 will be paid to 19 executives.
Even as it blamed unions for the bankruptcy and the 18,500 job losses that will ensue, Hostess already gave its executives pay raises earlier this year. The salary of the company’s chief executive tripled from $750,000 to roughly $2.5 million, and at least nine other executives received pay raises ranging from $90,000 to $400,000. Those raises came just months after Hostess originally filed for bankruptcy earlier this year.

The same is true for your statements about union versus nonunion states. I'll say (politely) that you're mistaken.

Anonymous said...

blockhead 1-

You are quoting a quote from the UNION! They are getting exactly what they want. You think some big wigs jacked up their salaries and dumped the company. That quote has been around for days. I know it is tough - but try and understand that they were converting performance based compensation into cash. Wouldn't you? The funny thing is that the workers could have had this option had they originally bargained for it - why wouldn't union workers want performance based incentives?

Now onto the union states. They are


I trust you can look up unemployment rates.

Wiley Coyote said...

blockhead, everything you say about management of companies can be said about the thugs who run unions....

In 2011, the union membership rate--the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of a union--was 11.8 percent,essentially unchanged from 11.9 percent in 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions, at 14.8 million, also showed
little movement over the year. In 1983, the first year for which comparable union
data are available, the union membership rate was 20.1 percent and there were
17.7 million union workers.

Anonymous said...

How about the THUGS in the HR Department of CMeS. One teacher got almost a $Million, but what about the hundreds who got nothing except abuse.

Anonymous said...

Union or no union - does anyone believe a school board that has Ericks E-S as its Chair would be good for students?

blockhead1 said...

To Coyote and anonymous:

This is cut and pasted directly from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These are also the states with the lowest wages, and among the highest unemployment, except for Virginia. Last post - no need to try to reason with people who have no regard for facts

Seven states had union membership rates below 5.0 percent in 2011,
with North Carolina having the lowest rate (2.9 percent). The next
lowest rates were recorded in South Carolina (3.4 percent), Georgia
(3.9 percent), Arkansas (4.2 percent), Louisiana (4.5 percent), and
Tennessee and Virginia (4.6 percent each). Three states had union membership rates over 20.0 percent in 2011: New York (24.1 percent),Alaska (22.1 percent), and Hawaii (21.5 percent).

Anonymous said...

North Carolina is filled with small minded and undereducated people who couldn't tell you the difference between a union and an onion. I have lived in several states and find NC to be the most hypocritical in demanding that teachers not unionize, yet North Carolinians will allow themselves to be sucked dry by corporations and politicians alike. North Carolina will continue to rank with Mississippi and Arkansas in education.

Wiley Coyote said...

blockhead...the point being that union membership has been declining for decades and only represents a very small portion workers in the US...
My favorite union stories is of autoworkers striking and picketing as the auto industry was going in the toilet over the past 30 years.
Second would be union teachers in Chicago making large salaries while the graduation rates are abysmal.

Anonymous said...

While it's off topic - Hostess has been owned by a private equity firm and then hedge funds for the past 6-8 years. The sole intent as leaked by those with connections was to get money out of Hostess while selling off the brands to the highest bidders.

They never once cared about the unions, or their jobs - the #1 concern was to make money for their investors. The CEO tripled his salary in the past 15 months to over $2.5 million.

Wylie, I heard the CEO and other executives didn't want those raises but those dadgum union thugs put a gun to their ends and forced them to accept it. You can hate on unions all you want, but you need to get your facts straight before showing your ignorance. And yeah, I'm sure you'll have some nice sarcastic reply because that's what you do when you get challenged and can't come up with a real reply.

Wiley Coyote said...

Anon 8:36...

I don't need to come up with anything but the facts and the one big fact is, the unions don't own Hostess and therefore management can do what they want with the company.

That is what you and unions don't get.

Witty enough for ya?

Anonymous said...

Who gives a dang about Hostess?!

What about the years of salary loss, vision and dental benefits loss, healthcare premium raise and loss of retirement / cost of inflation steps.

Good luck finding a quality workforce CMeS.

Only 6 out of 10 of ADMINISTATORS even filled out your morale survey

Jeff Wise said...

Hey Wiley,

My brother's a 20-year teacher in Ohio generally regard by his peers, students, their parents and others as a pretty good teacher.

He's part of a union and for the last couple of contracts he's been on the negotiating team. Would you consider him a thug too?

Anonymous said...

blockhead 1 -

So only ONE state (NC) with Union membership under 5% has higher unemployment than the state with the highest union membership (NY).

Got it. Thanks for the data.

Anonymous said...

Nc teachers need a real union! Elementary education is out of control. These teachers are bombarded with paper work and with no assistance. Every year more and more. Nothing is ever taken away just more added.Someone needs to start a REAL union. Facebook would b a good starting point

Anonymous said...

I have a child in NC elementary school. And I am so sick of hearing the whining that goes on by the administration and the teachers. I agree things are tuff with cut backs. But this nothing new for anyone. I know of very little jobs that are not throwing more on its employees and giving less pay. However NC seems to have this idea that their close minds ways are honing to make everything ok. Well parents being looked at as not needed in the schools is NOT the answer. And teachers coming up with this idea that parents can teach their children at home to the point that all a NC teacher needs to do is stand at the classroom door and hand out a test paper and that is the extent of their job on a daily basis as a public educator is NOT the answer.
If school officials are miss using funds for schools then parents and teachers need to come together as one and do something about it.
I can tell you right now there are teachers in these schools that have no business being anywhere near children much less teaching them. And that to me is salary monies that could be going to deserving teachers.
I come from another state where there is a governor who always has education for our children as a top priority. The school are great. All of schools make the schools systems are partnership between the adminitration and the parents. They request the help of parents and they get it. That does not happen here in NC as far as I can see. What I see and hear from NC schools is " I do not have time, don't have the money, and that is not how we do it here. And the general feeling I get is parents are not wanted around to witness some of the things that they are ashamed of doing. All I can say I am seriously thinking of getting out of this state and let them just fall flat on their faces.

Science Lady said...

Anonymous, as a teacher in NC it is untrue that I don't want parents in my classroom. However, I don't want parents with your antagonistic attitude in my classroom. I can't imagine why!

I don't care if there is a union in this state or not. I just want to be able to pay my extremely low mortgage. At this point, I'm unable to do so.