Is Transparency for Teachers Unions Really THAT Scary of an Idea?
Robert Manwaring at the Quick and the Ed asks the timely, fair and relevant policy question: “Should New Era of Transparency Apply to Union Finances?”:
Perhaps it is time to shed a little more light on how union funding is used. As union dues go up, what is the additional funding being spent on? Does the public have a right to know? Are union dues going up to compenate [sic] for all of the teachers that are being lost to job cuts, or are unions increasing salaries and expanding their influence. It would be interesting to know.
Teachers unions represent government employees. They bargain over public services paid for by taxpayers that serve students in our communities. Therefore, not only do the educators who pay dues into the organization have a right to know where the money goes, so does the general public. My Education Policy Center friend Ben DeGrow makes this terrific point in a paper he wrote a few months ago, titled Setting the Standard for Pro-Worker Transparency (PDF).
Transparency is good for governments, political campaigns, and corporations. Why not labor unions? Judging by the comments beneath his post, you would have thought Manwaring had advocated fire-bombing union headquarters or outlawing public-sector collective bargaining. It makes you wonder why some find this kind of openness and accountability so disturbing.