Thursday, July 07, 2011

Teacher unions that have lost collective bargaining will flex political muscle with money

Though they're losing the battle on its merits, the unions still have plenty of raw political muscle – and don't hesitate to use it:

While several states have recently limited the ability for teacher unions to collectively bargain for their members, teachers will continue to flex their political muscle in a way scholars of policymaking have overlooked: through their pocketbooks, says a Baylor University political scientist. Traditionally, the influence of teacher unions has been measured by the size of their membership or how active unions are in collective bargaining, said Patrick Flavin, Ph.D., assistant professor of political science at Baylor. But in a recent study, he found that teachers' unions — even in many Southern right-to-work states with weak or non-existent collective bargaining laws — have increased their political power by ratcheting up campaign contributions to candidates for state office.

"You don't often think of teachers as having a lot of money to throw around to campaigns. But when you have a lot of people each giving a little, it adds up," Flavin said. "Combine that with the fact that teachers vote at much higher rates than the general public, and you have a potent political force.

"It will be very interesting to see how state legislators who opposed collective bargaining rights for teachers fare when the next round of statewide elections roll around. It's likely that teacher unions will actively seek incumbents' defeat by mobilizing teachers to get to the polls to support opposing candidates and by contributing to their campaigns."


Teacher unions that have lost collective bargaining will flex political muscle with money

Published: Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - 09:05 in Psychology & Sociology!+Science+News+-+Popular%29

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