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Union Attacks School Board Member for Sharing AAE
posted by: Guest contributor | June 16, 2015, 03:29 PM   

By Conner Dunleavy


The Collier County Educator’s Association in Florida has threatened to take legal action against School Board Member Kelly Lichter as an attempt to silence her efforts to make local educators aware of their professional options for association membership.


According to reports, the local teachers’ union discovered that school board member Kelly Lichter had intended to share information about AAE to district employees. Dissatisfied with the union’s commitment to blocking reform, Lichter maintains that sharing AAE would give educators critically needed information. "I think our teachers deserve to have choices," Lichter told reporters.


The union fired back, attacking Lichter and conjuring up threats of lawsuits against her, claiming that the union’s exclusive right to collectively bargain with the district makes sharing information about a professional association unjust.


This typical union strong-arm tactic is one that occurs time and time again as AAE membership continues to grow stronger across the country. AAE is not a union, but a professional association that does not engage in collectively bargaining or partisan politics. Therefore, any exclusive claim of a breach of contract simply falls on its face.


The union use scare tactics like these against teachers and allies to block any dissenting voices and keep their members in the dark regarding their ability to leave a union to acquire better benefits – at a fraction of the cost.


In this particular case, Lichter has stated that she has been approached by multiple teachers who have expressed immense frustration with regard to the bully tactics of their local union organization.


While we both wish to reach teachers, AAE is a fundamentally different type of organization with a unique mission and vision for educators. Our only hope is for teachers to have the information needed to make an informed decision. We are not trying to sign up 100% of teachers, but we are trying to meet the needs of educators whose professional interests and goals would be well served by our association. Our organization is open to both non-union and union educators alike.


Barring AAE from events and communication channels mars the free marketplace of ideas and violates teachers' rights under Florida’s Right-to-Work statute which clearly prohibits coercion in the exercise of whether to join or refrain from joining a union.


AAE is proud to provide high-quality, low-cost benefits to educators across the United States - and will continue to do so - while always giving educators the option to join or leave AAE - hassle free - at any time.


Have you experienced difficulty in sharing AAE as an option?

Comment below. We can help!


ConnerDunleavyAs the 2015 summer intern for AAE, Conner supports the communications and marketing team in the DC AAE office. From the class of 2017, he intends to graduate from the University at Albany with a Bachelor's Degree in European History and a Minor in Education.




Comments (1)Add Comment
written by Cindy Omlin, Mead, WA, June 16, 2015

The use of bullying tactics to keep teachers ignorant of their options reveals a dearth of professionalism and lack of commitment to democratic ideals on behalf of union leaders. Their actions hurt the reputations of hard working educators focused on doing what is best for their students rather than advancing union interests. Thank you, Ms. Lichter, for your dedication to a free marketplace of ideas for teachers in our public schoools! I wish you and the AAE every success!

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