KNOW & Tell: Around the Organization
GAE’S 2018-19 BOARD OF DIRECTORS COMPLETES AN INSPIRATION PUZZLE AT ITS SUMMER RETREAT.
JANUS DECISION DOESN’T MEAN ORGANIZATIONS
WILL STOP FIGHTING FOR WORKERS’ RIGHTS
“Many want to know how today’s vote against
AFSME by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Janus v.
AFSME case affects our organization,” said Dr. Sid
Chapman, president of the Georgia Association of
Educators (GAE), an affiliate of the National Education
Association (NEA), which is the largest teacher and
educator union in the world.
“The quick answer,” said Chapman, “is that it doesn’t,
because as a right-to-work state Georgia does not
have agency fee, which today’s ruling has effectively
eliminated. Agency fee means those who are
benefiting from the negotiations of the union, but are
not members, still are required to pay a “fair share
fee” of approximately 78 percent of the full dues.
This is because of the benefits they derive from the
union’s advocacy and efforts. Today’s ruling removes
that option in the 22 states that have collective
bargaining, of which Georgia is not one.”
However, Chapman says GAE decries the U.S.
Supreme Court’s decision because in collective
bargaining states union jobs have historically been
and continue to be a path to the middle class. They
raise the tide which lifts all boats. It is no accident
that working people are struggling and the Court’s
ruling against AFSME, is simply another slap in the
face of working class people.
Chapman says that there are examples even in
Georgia’s right-to-work environment that parallel
AFSME’s argument. “When GAE advocates for
legislation that reduces class size and our efforts
help it pass, that impacts all educators, whether GAE
members or not, positively. The same for when we
recently helped pass legislation that reduced toxic
testing or now allows for students to have recess.
That impacts all educators, again whether or not they
are our members.”
An even more pointed example, Chapman notes, is
when GAE fought to guarantee female teachers, who
left for maternity leave, were ensured a classroom
position when they returned. Today all teachers
who are mothers-to-be benefit from that advocacy
although all are not our members.
“In a right-to-work environment non-members also
benefit from our association’s advocacy with no
recompense to us.”
“GAE members voluntarily join and agree to pay
dues for the services the association provides that
include the aforementioned advocacy along with
professional development. And yes, when GAE
helped lead the effort to defeat the OSD Opportunity
School District Amendment and subsequently helped
to ensure certain principles were included in the new
First Priority Act, some aspects of which positively
impact educators, effect all educators,” emphasized
So Chapman stresses that while today’s detrimental
ruling will not have a direct bearing on how GAE as a
professional association will operate, it does highlight
the need for workers everywhere to be ever more
diligent in ensuring they are being treated fairly on all
facets of their employment.
6 | KNOW • Volume 16 Issue 2