Many school board members and other citizens mistakenly believe that union membership is required for all teachers working under a collective bargaining agreement. The truth is that there is no statute that requires teachers to either become union members or pay union dues in the absence of a contractual agreement between a school district and a union.

The mandatory support clause (sometimes called a “union security” clause), if included in a collective bargaining agreement, is what forces school employees to pay union dues. School boards that agree to such a clause become union financial enforcers, often by agreeing to fire any employee who fails to pay dues.

School boards should negotiate mandatory support clauses out of their collective bargaining agreements. The coercive and unfair nature of such clauses negatively affects school employees’ morale, productivity and professionalism. Unions that excel in representing their members will have no difficulty attracting and keeping the voluntary support of those members.