New Educated Teachers Video: ‘My School Year as a Non-Union Member’

Minnesota high school science teacher Linda Hoekman decided not to join the teachers’ union during the 2018-2019 school year. “I found that decision to be best for me and my family,” Hoekman says. “This is just an extension of what I expect from my students—to think for themselves, to make their own choices.”

Hoekman says she had a great school year and that nothing changed for her professionally. She didn’t lose any friends, her salary and benefits stayed the same, and she kept her seniority and tenure. “No one was looking over my shoulder wondering why I chose not to be in the union. I was just able to be me.”

She purchased liability coverage through an alternative education association that gives her double the protection she was getting from the union for a fraction of what she paid in dues—and she felt better represented. “I’m part of a non-union teachers’ association that focuses on my needs in the classroom and my students’ needs, not on partisan politics. It gives me the opportunity to be the teacher that I want to be.”

Hoekman hopes her non-union member status will serve as a wake-up call to the union and what it prioritizes. “I don’t feel the union has been focused on me. And I want the union to support teachers better. If the union made different choices, maybe it would be a benefit. But right now, this is the best choice for me.”

Listen to Linda’s full story below and find out how to exercise your freedom of choice regarding union membership here.