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Maryland lawmakers pass bill forcing teachers to pay union fees, reversing right to work trend


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maryland-lawmakers-pass-bill-forcing-teachers-to-pay-union-fees-reversing-rightFox News:

Maryland lawmakers agreed this week to require public school teachers to pay union fees – a move that bolsters the state’s connection to organized labor as others move toward a right-to-work status.

The bill passed Thursday in the General Assembly and is headed to the desk of Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley for signing after Monday, the final day of Maryland’s 2013 legislative session.

The bill is also part of a larger progressive agenda put fourth this year by leaders of the Democrat-controlled Assembly that includes the approval of tax increases and one of the toughest gun-control proposals in the country.

State Sen. David Brinkley calls the fees a “forced tax” and disagrees with union claims that representation will benefit every teacher.

“If the representation is so exceptional, then everybody would join,” he said. “I just don’t buy it. It’s a political payback that has nothing substantial to do with the merits of education.”

The bill will require tens of thousands of public school teachers to pay close to 1 percent of their paychecks in so-called “fair share” fees to cover the cost of contract negotiations and grievance representation.

Union leaders say the legislation attempts to create uniformity across Maryland and that non-union workers should share the cost.

“We just have a patchwork of bills with no consistency,” said Sean Johnson, the Maryland State Teachers Association’s managing director of legislative and legal affairs.

Johnson acknowledged some issues are best decided on a local level but not in this case, in which some workers pay for union representatives to negotiate fair pay and benefits while others do not.

Right now, 24 states have right-to-work statues, which prohibit unions from requiring employees to join or pay dues as a condition of employment, according to the National Right to Work Foundation.

“The right to work has been on the march for several decades,” said Greg Mourad, vice president for the Right to Work Committee. “And Maryland is moving in the wrong direction in relation to the rest of America.”



Unionization by legislative decree.

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