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Education Minnesota endorses political candidates & “recommends” them to members

Education Minnesota, the state’s teachers’ union, used two pages of its every-other-month magazine, Minnesota Educator, to list out the political candidates it has endorsed for the upcoming November elections.

The August/September edition recommended candidates as of August 1, and updated endorsements became available on the union’s website after the August 14 primary.

Keeping to Education Minnesota’s political history of almost exclusively, with rare exceptions, supporting one political party and its affiliates, 104 out of the union’s 105 endorsements in its publication were for DFL candidates. It is no secret public-sector unions consistently favor Democratic or DFL candidates for elective office. But the state’s teachers’ union represents over 80,000 voices, and not all of them embrace the same political ideology as Education Minnesota. And even if their political views are closely associated with the left, there are multiple candidates that run against each other within each party.

Recent conversations with educators and poll results reveal teachers want their union to focus more on meeting their professional needs and less on political activity. In light of the Janus decision, public-sector unions have an opportunity to reboot for the better, but they are faced with a choice: Will they continue prioritizing political objectives unrelated to meeting the needs of their members? Or will they be more attentive and responsive to professional interests?

Teachers want their voices heard, and they often expect their union to be that collective voice and advocate for their profession and their students. If teachers do not feel the union is doing a good job helping them in their daily work as educators, they have a seven-day period that began September 24 and runs until September 30 to resign from union membership. (Visit EducatedTeachersMN.com for more information.)

Teachers now get to choose what is best for themselves, their students, and their profession. No teacher has ever been forced to join a union (that would violate their rights), but unions can no longer take members’ money for granted.

If teachers exercise their right to resign, we are hopeful this could be a wake-up call for unions to become more in-step with members’ needs. Even union leaders have admitted teachers “don’t always feel represented” by their union.

It is time to usher in healthier public-sector unionism so we better serve our teachers and students.

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