Teachers Can Send Message to Unions


August 12, 2014 12:43PM

Check out the letter to the editor written by Beacon CEO Justin Owen and J.C. Bowman from the Knoxville News Sentinel.

One of the biggest draws for businesses to relocate to and grow in Tennessee is our right-to-work environment.

Unlike in many states, Tennesseans cannot be forced to join a union and pay dues in order to keep their jobs.

That’s why it is important to celebrate National Employee Freedom Week, which runs through Saturday. This week serves as a reminder that employees should be free to join — or withdraw from — a union. In fact, more than 80 percent of Tennesseans believe in employees’ freedom to join or leave a union when they see fit.

Here in Tennessee, the state teachers’ union has advocated for a state income tax, a measure that, if enacted, would have substantially raised its own members’ tax bills. Its national outfit — the National Education Association — has endorsed a complete government-takeover of health care. Whatever one’s position on these issues, what do income taxes and Obamacare have to do with representing teachers?

Tennessee’s teachers should take the time to review their dues deduction authorization. The teachers’ unions continue to make the process of opting out difficult and complicated. We believe opting out should be simple and transparent.

Teachers can use this week as the perfect time to send the message that unions should work to protect their members, not advance a radical, left-wing political agenda out of step with mainstream Tennesseans.

Justin Owen, president and CEO, Beacon Center of Tennessee, and J.C. Bowman, executive director of Professional Educators of Tennessee, Nashville