Desperate PSEA Responds To Sen. Wagner

Desperate PSEA Responds To Sen. Wagner 

By Sen. Scott Wagner

I have repeatedly expressed that the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA), is the number one public sector union that opposes any type of reform in Harrisburg, particularly pension reform and school tax elimination. 

Apparently as a result of yesterday’s email blast, I have gotten the PSEA’s attention.

Last evening, with the click of a button on a computer keyboard, the PSEA sent an email blast to their 180,000 teacher members.

The email sent out by the PSEA is shown at the end of my email.

When you read the email sent out by the PSEA, it clear to see that the PSEA is trying to raise money for their left-wing, anti-children political agenda by attacking me and one of my colleagues, Senator John Eichelberger, by telling their members inaccurate information. 

I need your help to fight the PSEA Union Bosses who are blocking critical reforms that need to take place in Harrisburg.

Every single day, I hear from people that their number one concern is about school taxes on real estate. Last evening, I held a tele-townhall meeting and 90 percent of the questions I received were questioning what we are doing in Harrisburg to solve this large problem.

Let me crystal clear…

The PSEA Union Bosses are against any effort to eliminate school taxes on real estate.

The PSEA Union Bosses are opposed to any pension reform.

The PSEA Union Bosses are against paycheck protection, which is the deduction of union dues from teacher paychecks.

The PSEA Union Bosses are against the taxpayers of Pennsylvania.

Governor Wolf and the PSEA Union Bosses have a very strong relationship with each other.

The PSEA was the largest contributor to Governor Wolf’s campaign when he ran for Governor.

The PSEA has to be stopped and I will lead the fight against the PSEA, so that we are able to enact reforms in Harrisburg that benefit the taxpayers, not the PSEA union machine. 

Here is what the PSEA sent regarding me:

Sen. Wagner represents the 28th District in the Pennsylvania Senate.

Desperate PSEA Responds To Sen. Wagner

PSEA Corrupts Pennsylvania, Teachers Would Quit It If Able

PSEA Corrupts Pennsylvania, Teachers Would Quit It If Able

PSEA Corrupts Pennsylvania, Teachers Would Quit It If Able By Sen. Scott Wagner

I have reported over the last several years in my email updates the power public sector unions have in Harrisburg and that these unions are essentially running Pennsylvania because of their power and influence.

There are two distinct types of unions: private sector unions and public sector unions. 

The first union group would be private sector unions, commonly known as the trade unions.

Trade unions represent electricians, plumbers, steelworkers, bricklayers, carpenters, equipment operators, steamfitters, and glass installers – mainly construction related workers.

The second union group would be classified as public sector employee unions.

Public sector unions represent school teachers and government workers.

The Pennsylvania State Education Association, commonly known as the PSEA, represents approximately 180,000 Kindergarten through 12th grade teachers throughout Pennsylvania.

Two other public sector unions that represent workers at the Department of Labor and Industry, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the Department of Environmental Protection are the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, commonly known as AFSCME, and the Service Employees International Union, commonly known as the SEIU union. 

The PSEA represents approximately 180,000 K-12 school teachers in Pennsylvania. Each teacher pays approximately $800 per year in union dues to the PSEA.

Therefore on an annual basis, the PSEA collects approximately $144 million from 180,000 school teachers.

It is hard to know exactly how much of the $144 million is used for political purposes in Harrisburg and how much is used for bargaining and representation of the teachers.

I have seen first-hand the amount of money spent on political contributions to House and Senate members in Harrisburg and the amount spent on lobbying.

Penn Live reported in May of 2016 that $500 Million Dollars was spent on lobbying in 2015. Click here for the article: http://www.pennlive.com/opinion/2016/05/monday_morning_coffee_lobbyist.html

The PSEA is the most powerful union in Harrisburg and to collect approximately $144 Million Dollars per year in dues makes the PSEA a very large enterprise.

At PSEA headquarters in Harrisburg there are several hundred employees that are paid by the teacher dues collected. 

 The best way to describe the PSEA’s headquarter in Harrisburg would be to say that this is where the PSEA Union Bosses have their offices.

There are many great teachers throughout Pennsylvania who do an excellent job of teaching our children and would rather not be a member of the PSEA, but they do not have a choice, and if they had the choice a large majority of teachers would elect not to pay dues to the PSEA.

The PSEA is also a member of the National Education Association commonly known as the NEA, and the PSEA pays dues to the NEA.

The NEA is based in Washington D.C. and had a budget of more than $341 million for the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

The operation of the PSEA and the NEA are large enterprises; just think that there are 49 other states in America that have teachers unions also that collect dues from their members.

It would be safe to say that teachers in schools throughout America pay several billion dollars in dues combined to teachers unions. 

Teachers unions have become big businesses and yield extreme power over their members and in the states they operate.

Some quick research reveals that the NEA actually is very clear that they represent teachers and do not represent the children because the children do not pay dues.

 Click here for three articles:

 http://dailysignal.com/2011/07/02/nea-convention-reminds-us-it%E2%80%99s-about-union-power-not-children/

 http://nation.foxnews.com/culture/2011/02/23/teachers-union-big-wig-says-its-not-about-kids-its-about-power

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/06/the-failure-of-american-schools/308497/

 In the above articles, NEA officials actually make statements – “It’s Not About Kids, It’s About Power” and “When school children start paying union dues, that’s when I’ll start representing the interests of school children.”

These are very powerful statements that make it crystal clear that union bosses at state levels and the national level are in the game for power and money, and not the children.

It is unfortunate because a large majority of the school teachers in Pennsylvania do care about their students and would drop out of the PSEA if they had a choice but they don’t have that choice because of the power of the PSEA.

The PSEA  uses teacher dues collected to fight every effort that would result in solving the pension crisis and any initiative to eliminate school taxes on real estate in Pennsylvania.

In order for the teachers in Pennsylvania to stop being represented by the PSEA, it would require a decertification effort, initiated by a single teacher or group of teachers, but the PSEA will never let that happen, because the PSEA is all about power and money. 

Sen. Wagner represents the 28th District in the Pennsylvania Senate.

PSEA Corrupts Pennsylvania, Teachers Would Quit It If Able

Ghost Teachers Unnecessary Tax Burden

Ghost Teachers Unnecessary Tax Burden

By Leo Knepper

The Commonwealth Foundation undertook the monumental task of acquiring and analyzing teachers’ union contracts from 499 school districts. Their main findings were shocking, but not surprising. Two of items that caught our attention were the prevalence of release time provisions and the “generosity” of healthcare benefits.

Ghost Teachers Unnecessary Tax BurdenRelease time or “ghost teacher” provisions force taxpayers to foot the bill for union activities. Roughly 20 percent of contracts across the state allow for a full release. These teachers don’t set foot in the classroom at all. Instead, they are on the district payroll and can collect a variety of benefits while they work for the union. One of the most expensive benefits that ghost teachers had received, until recently, was a taxpayer funded pension.

On the issue of health insurance benefits, in 99 districts taxpayers foot the entire bill. The workers covered under the teachers’ union contracts don’t pay anything for their premiums. In instances where teachers are required to pay toward their premium costs, they pay far less than the Pennsylvania average of $3,598 per person.

A full summary of the Commonwealth Foundation’s findings can be found on their website; the district-by-district contract details can be found here.

Mr. Knepper is executive director of Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania.

Ghost Teachers Unnecessary Tax Burden

Ghost Teachers Lose, Taxpayers Win

Ghost Teachers Lose, Taxpayers Win

By Leo Knepper

It is fairly common and legal in Pennsylvania for teachers to engage in union activity while continuing to collect their teaching salary. The practice, officially known as “release time”, is written into union contracts all over the commonwealth. In addition to receiving a taxpayer-funded salary, these ghost teachers were also accruing time in the Pennsylvania School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS). In other words, some union officials who had not set foot in a classroom for years were increasing the value of their pension at taxpayers’ expense. That arrangement may finally be coming to an end. Ghost Teachers Lose, Taxpayers Win

In late June, PSERS revoked the pension credit accumulated by a ghost teacher in Allentown. Furthermore, PSERS ruled that the past two union heads had accrued more than $1 million in pension benefits illegally. An article published by Watchdog.org details PSERS findings:

“PSERS concluded, ‘an active member is permitted to receive retirement credit while working for a collective bargaining organization provided: (1) at least half the members of the organization are members of PSERS; (2) the employer approves the leave; (3) the collective bargaining organization reimburses the employer for the member’s salary and benefits; (4) the member works full-time; and (5) the employer reports only the salary the member would have earned as a school employee.'”

PSERS’s ruling is great news for taxpayers. Teachers who are working exclusively for the union have no business being paid by taxpayers or collecting a taxpayer funded pension. The union is appealing the decision; we will let you know what ultimately happens.

Ghost Teachers Lose, Taxpayers Win

Ghost Teachers Cost Millions

Ghost Teachers Cost Millions By Leo Knepper

The Fairness Center filed another lawsuit, Feb. 24, on behalf of taxpayers against ghost teachers. Officially known as “release time,” ghost teachers are being paid by taxpayers to conduct union business. The most recent lawsuit addresses the Allentown School District where the union president has collected more than $1.3 million in salary and benefits since the year 2000. When you add in the state portion of her pension, the cost goes up even further. According to a news report on the lawsuit, teachers’ union presidents haven’t had to step foot in a classroom since 1990. Ghost Teachers Cost Millions

The cost to the Allentown School District, while substantial, pales in comparison to the $1.7 million ghost teachers collected from the Philadelphia School District in 2014. The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers also enjoys a rent-free office provided by the school district. An article published by Watchdog.org details some of the political work undertaken by union bosses at taxpayer expense:

“Hillary Linardopoulos, who has not taught in a classroom since 2009, ‘coordinates much of our political activism and legislative involvement,’ according to an op-ed penned by union members that endorses its current leadership team going into an upcoming internal election. Since leaving the classroom, her taxpayer-funded salary has almost doubled to $91,156.”

Legislation to eliminate ghost teachers was introduced last August. The General Assembly should shift the cost of union operatives from taxpayers to the unions. Furthermore, given the blatantly political nature of the work, there is no excuse for forcing taxpayers to subsidize the activity.

Leo Knepper is executive director Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania.

Ghost Teachers Cost Millions

Teacher Strike Record Looms?

By Leo Knepper

The school year is less than a month old, but there are already two districts where teachers are on strike. There also are at least two more districts were teachers have indicated they’d walk out by mid-October. Teachers from Shamokin and Line Mountain Areas are out of the classroom. In both cases, the teachers’ unions are demanding more.Teacher Strike Record Looms? The new school year is less than a month old, but there are already two districts where teachers are on strike. Teacher Strike Record Looms? Teacher Strike Record Looms? Teacher Strike Record Looms?

The PSEA negotiator at both school districts is Mark McDade, who makes over $100,000 per year. The situation was neatly summed up in a letter from the Line Mountain School Board:

“It is apparent, by the Association’s last proposal, that the Association has no desire to settle these negotiations . . . Based on McDade’s leadership of 5 other local Teachers’ Unions toward strikes, regardless of how much they are being offered, it is obvious they just want more!”

In Shamokin Area, the School Board offered teachers $9,000 in salary increases over the next three three school years. The Line Mountain School Board was even more generous. Some teachers there would have seen their salaries increase by over $17,000 by 2020. Higher salaries also mean higher pensions. A multi-billion dollar funding shortfall in the pension system means taxpayers all over the state will be picking up those costs.

Pennsylvania is one of only 13 states where teachers may hold students’ education hostage to extract a higher salary and better benefits than the taxpayers who are covering the tab. We also lead the nation in teachers’ strikes. It would appear we are on track to keep that title.

Mr. Knepper is executive director of Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania.

Teacher Strike Record Looms?

Teacher Sues PSEA

Teacher Sues PSEALinda Misja is suing the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) one of the most powerful and cynical political organizations in the state.

Ms. Misja is a highly regarded French teacher at Bellefonte Area High School who has opted out of the school’s bargaining unit but is still required by state law to pay a “fair share” fee which is automatically deducted from her paycheck. The union is only allowed to use this money for collective bargaining and representational activities of the union. They are not allowed to use fair share fees for  non-union matters.

Ms. Misja, however, points out that the PSEA has taken stands on matters unrelated to collective bargaining and representation — especially with regard to its support for unrestricted abortion. SShe doesn’t want to contribute anything to it because of that.

State law allows for religious objectors to donate money equivalent to the fair share fee to a non-religious charity.

Ms. Misja tried that. She sought to use her fee — about $2,000 — to help fund  a charity that cares for teenage mothers in a pro-life environment. No can do, says the union. That would be “too religious.” She could only give to a group that provides the option for abortion.

So Ms. Misja offered to give the money to a non-profit group that teaches gun safety, which certainly put the PSEA on the spot. Oppose it, and it reveals to the world that they are naked hypocrites and that its agenda has nothing to do with fairness but everything to do with advancing leftism.

They opposed it. They said it was too political as the group had a connection to the National Rifle Association.

So Ms. Misja is taking them to court and we hope and pray that she wins big.

And we hope and pray that people wake up an realize how wrong automatic deductions of all workers dues are as they are invariable used to increase the wealth of leaders and support political agendas not in the workers’ best interest.

Teacher sues PSEA hat tip Matt Brouillette of Commonwealth Foundation.

Teacher Sues PSEA

 

Factory Tours Mean Richer Teachers

A bill designed to make it easier for public school teachers to get more money has moved through State House committee and is now before the full body. Factory Tours Mean Richer Teachers -- House Bill 1816 would allow teachers, guidance counselors and other school administrators to receive  education credits if they visit certain manufacturing facilities for in-person tours and orientation programs, reports State Rep. Jim Cox (R-129).  Education credits allow teachers to advance a step in the pay scale so it looks like they may soon be able to tour Yeungling Brewery and get a permanent raise.

House Bill 1816 would allow teachers, guidance counselors and other school administrators to receive  education credits if they visit certain manufacturing facilities for in-person tours and orientation programs, reports State Rep. Jim Cox (R-129).  Education credits allow teachers to advance a step in the pay scale so it looks like they may soon be able to tour Yeungling Brewery and get a permanent raise.

The only bright side would be the taxpayer would not have pay the teacher’s college tuition bill which would be the usual route to this raise.

Factory Tours Mean Richer Teachers