Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

Dues Money at Work

With a $75,000 settlement in hand, Stan Mims certainly got his money’s worth for membership in the Alabama Education Association. The Birmingham school board wanted to fire him, but his AEA-paid lawyer’s threatened lawsuit against the board produced an agreement whereby he would resign instead of being fired and would also receive five months of severance pay.

By the way: Mims wasn’t a teacher. He was superintendent of the school district.

It was my understanding that administrators had been driven out of the National Education Association and its affiliates when the NEA underwent its transformation from a professional association to a labor union. That still seems to be the case in general, but there are exceptions like Mims. The Birmingham News raised some important questions over the fact that Mims was part of the same union as the school personnel under him:

A skeptical person might ask whether this is the norm for school bosses across this state. And, if so, how that might impact their decisions on firings, promotions, transfers and disciplinary actions. Do they come down hard on their fellow AEA members? Or are they all in it, so to speak, together? Could this help explain AEA’s seemingly lopsided advantage in personnel disputes?

Maybe so. Maybe not. But it’s a strange world when you look at labor and management, and find they’re both wearing the union label.

Categories: Teachers UnionsUncategorized