In Oregon, the state legislature granted private organizations the ability to secure a monopoly franchise over workplace representation services for school district employees (ORS 243.650 to 243.782). The Oregon Education Association (OEA) garnered nearly all school districts roughly fifty years ago.
Many believe the union arrangement for school employees is not a good fit.
On the one hand, educators are professionals seeking autonomy and respect, but on the other, the typical union approach tends to assume the uniformity of a factory line worker. The union is not governed by the usual consumer protection or anti-trust law, so abuses of the privilege of collecting money are possible. For example:
They can charge whatever they wish. They can spend money on whatever they wish. They do not have to disclose how the money is spent to those who pay it. They can speak for employees without consulting or informing them. They can injure some members’ interests while advancing the interests of others. They can prevent employees from getting help in their workplace from other sources. They are not governed by any obligation to provide quality service, and they almost never have to seek reauthorization of their right to have this monopoly on workplace services.
Educators in Oregon and elsewhere have challenged some of the unions’ abuse of their power: The power to overcharge for services. The power to compel people to lend dollars to a political voice they don’t support. The power to make people violate their faith as a condition of employment.
The Courts have agreed that they have certain rights.