Teachers in Minnesota are exclusively represented by a union, and the framework of the union’s collective bargaining hasn’t been evaluated by the teachers since 1971. Only 18% of schools over a 60-year time frame held a secret ballot certification election for exclusive union representation. Most of these elections took place during the 1970s and haven’t been conducted since.
In Minnesota, teachers pay dues that support the state level union that is Education Minnesota, and also dues that get sent out to national organizations, the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).
Education Minnesota conducts collective bargaining on behalf of both members and non-members. However, teachers have no way to assess the work that Education Minnesota does, as their exclusive representative relationship has never been given the opportunity to be evaluated despite Education Minnesota’s constitutional commitment to “workplace democracy.”
“Elected officials have to ask for your vote every few years,” Kim Crockett, Vice President, and General Counsel at the Center of the American Experiment said so why wouldn’t the State, in requiring unions to be re-certified regularly by teachers “give employees that same opportunity to evaluate their exclusive bargaining agent?”
Crockett also notes that this would “improve the quality of representation and empower teachers in the process”, which according to Education Minnesota’s mission, is exactly what they want.
Megan Olson is a 2020 graduate of the University of Minnesota with degrees in political science and history. She works in public affairs in addition to serving on the Legislative Advisory Council for School District 196. She is also on the school board for FIT academy, a charter school in Apple Valley.