NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Workers for Opportunity released the following statement today from Senior Labor Policy Advisor Vincent Vernuccio after the Tennessee House restored paycheck protection measures into House Bill 329 before passage:
Workers for Opportunity commends House members for restoring a critical provision of HB 329 and applauds Governor Bill Lee for never wavering in his commitment to putting Tennessee teachers first.
The Tennessee Education Association has bylaws that permit them to apply an “assessment” on teachers’ dues for salary increases granted by the state, effectively skimming teachers’ paychecks when they get raises above the cost of living. Because Tennessee has deducted union dues from teachers’ paychecks automatically, unions could in some cases access teachers’ pay increases before they do.
Additionally, state resources are used to collect dues, not all of which stay in the Volunteer State or are fully reinvested in teachers and classrooms. Instead, portions of these dues are exported out of state to the National Education Association, which can use these dollars for purposes that can be at odds with Tennessee teachers’ values.
We agree with the Tennessee legislature and Governor Lee in believing that this is fundamentally wrong. Not only should the state of Tennessee no longer act as the bills collector for a union to export dues for political purposes outside of the state, but Tennessee should also ensure that teachers have the opportunity to access their hard-earned salary increases first.
Teachers work hard for their paychecks, and they deserve to easily see where their money is going. Tennessee taxpayers also deserve more accountability over how state resources are being spent.
We look forward to seeing Governor Bill Lee sign this bill into law.