By Meg Tully, MarylandReporter.com
Maryland teachers statewide could be required to pay union fees even if they are not members, according to legislation expected to be introduced this session in Annapolis on behalf of Maryland State Education Association (MSEA).
The “fair share” fee is a top priority of the teachers union that represents about 70,000 people – or 80% of school employees.
According to MSEA, the new fee would be about 68% of current union dues, which vary by county. There are already 10 jurisdictions in the state which require a “fair share” fee, also called an “agency fee.”
Making everyone contribute to representation
MSEA spokesman Adam Mendelson said that the fee is intended to make sure everyone contributes to the cost of contract negotiations, from which all employees benefit. In addition, state law requires that the union provide representation for all educators who want to resolve a grievance, whether they are union members or not.
The fee would pay for bargaining and grievance services and could not go toward costs for political activities, he said.
“The bill does not force anyone to join the association,” Mendelson said. “It forces a choice about if you join or not.”