We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The most common argument I hear in defending the unions is the "free-rider" argument - this teacher gets the benefits of collective bargaining but she doesn't want to pay her share of the costs of collective bargaining. Which begs the question of whether or not higher pay for teachers is a benefit. Higher pay for teachers isn't a public policy issue as long as you think government has a bottomless bag of money and can pay teachers more, (plus the cops and the firemen and the garbage collectors and everybody else who is going to insist they get the same raises teachers get) plus have more money for books and busses and electric bills and everything else the schools say they need. Higher pay for teachers is a public policy issue if you happen to reason that more money for teachers equals less money for books and busses and electric bills. An argument over how to divide up the money given to the schools is a public policy issue and insisting someone give you money to pay for their arguing on your behalf for a particular division of the money with which you don't agree strikes me as wrong.
It reminds me of the Hostess bankruptcy a couple years ago where the company went to the unions and asked them to agree to a pay cut to stave off bankruptcy. One of the unions agreed, one did not - and Hostess went out of business. Which union was the one best representing their members? The one who negotiated for higher wages or the one who negotiated for not being unemployed? How would you as a union member feel about the benefits of higher wages after your union just negotiated you right out of a job? And don't you think if you had been willing to take a pay cut to keep your job you might have felt a little wronged by being forced to pay union dues to the nice folks who told the boss you would rather go without a job than accept a pay cut?
The most effective thing you can do is vote in politicians that will put a vote to the people for right-to-work. I can't, for the life of me, understand why anyone would belong to a union, much less hire them. In OK they are all but nonexistent after 30 years of right-to-work. Support your local rats and scabs.
Jerry makes the point that unions want all of the teachers to pay union dues because all of the teachers benefit from the collective bargaining. As an aside, in terms of public sector unions, the bargain is essentially politicians (typically liberals) agree to pay public sector (government) employees more money and those public sector employees "agree" to vote these politicians back into office.
Let's take a step back and look at this thru a wider lens.
Where does this money come from (the extra money that the politicians agree to pay the teachers and the money that the teachers pay in union dues)? It comes from taxpayers, most of whom don't get the benefit - at least not as large a benefit - that the public sector employees get. Especially in the case of education, the argument can be made that we aren't getting what we're paying for.
Unlike the case where workers - union or not - at a private sector company bargain for increased benefits (the cost of which gets passed on to ONLY THOSE CONSUMERS WHO VOLUNTARILY CHOOSE TO CONTINUE USING THAT COMPANIES GOODS AND SERVICES), the taxpayers cannot choose to not use and not pay for the public sector services.