“I became a teacher 20 years ago. And back in those days, you went to a first day [orientation]. And while they were saying ‘here’s how the building is laid out, here’s the key,’ they said ‘here’s the form you sign to be in the union.’ It was an expectation of the job.

“I got into teaching because I wanted to teach kids. And now all of a sudden, because I want to do something that I see as a service, I have to contribute to a political cause that I frankly think is wrong. And that’s a surreal place to find yourself.

“When the [Janus] ruling came down, I was relieved. That was the feeling: relief. It was like, ‘I am out from under this. I don’t have to play this game anymore.’ I remember it vividly. The day the decision came down I sent an email to the union and to the district saying that’s it, I’m out.

“I just think it’s a better situation, I think it’s better for the union. Now they have an incentive, they have to meet the needs of their membership or they’re not going to have a membership.

“You would hope that they start to focus on things that actually matter more in the day-to-day and long-term needs of the profession. You could be for or against [a political cause], that’s fine. But what does that have to do with teaching? What does it have to do with how you make a living or the environment you work in? Nothing. So you would hope that over time they would star to steer away from that sort of thing and start to think pragmatically.

“I think it’s good for them. I think it works out better for the union in the long run. I don’t think they see that yet.”

Jeffry Bedore
Plainfield, Illinois