“I teach fifth and sixth grade language arts and social studies. I sat on the union board with [the union president] and it was a miserable experience…. She said I didn’t have a voice and I thought, ‘Why am I paying dues for this?’

“From the beginning, it’s been this ‘us against them’ mentality with the administration. She doesn’t want to work with them. There were things like a float for the homecoming parade. Really nothing they were asking us to do is anything we shouldn’t want to do.

“They’ve met with administration three times [about fall plans] and we haven’t been included in anything. When we asked about it, we were told this was union communication. The superintendent said it applies to everyone.

“I definitely feel like I have not been heard. I was surprised when I submitted my letter of resigning from the union that the Illinois Federation of Teachers didn’t contact me to find out why I was leaving because I’ve been paying dues for 10 years. To me, I would think that if someone were leaving, I would want to find out why they left.

“I opted out in November. It should be this next check in August [when dues stop coming out]. I was paying up until the end of June. My administration was ready to stop the deductions the day I resigned, but the union president threatened them with a grievance.

“I finally got my membership card and shared it with legal counsel, but they said we’d have to sue the district. Because of the wording on my card, I was in it until they stopped….

“My husband is a union carpenter. We are a union family and we are proud of that. But I would tell someone if you are uncomfortable with the way things are going you don’t have to stay in that. You’re paying for this. If you don’t feel you’re getting what you’re paying for, leave. I understand it can be difficult, especially when the union is so powerful, but sometimes you have to do what’s right and best for you.”

Carrie Schindler
Bartonville, Illinois