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Argument: Merit pay divides teacher unions, undermines collective bargaining

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Supporting quotations

"No merit to merit pay". United Teachers Los Angeles. November 9, 2007: "From a labor perspective merit pay would also divide the work force and in the long run lessen our ability to fight collectively to improve public education. If salaries were not simply based on years of experience and number of college credits earned or additional services provided, the teaching force at any workplace would be more stratified (differentiated) and much less willing to stand together during a conflict with school site management or during a contract struggle. The role of the union would be seriously compromised."


"Merit pay ain't the way". No Fish No Nuts. March 11, 2009: "Republicans back merit pay and charter schools for the same reason they shriek about "tort reform" and use the argument of the "secret ballot" to try and kill the Employee Free Choice Act: they want to shrink the pool of resources available to back Democrats in congressional and presidential elections.

Just as "tort reform" would cut pay to the trial lawyers who support Democrats, and defeating the Employee Free Choice Act would limit union membership (and thus union political action and organizing), Republicans want charter schools to limit membership in (and thus the political resources of) the National Education Association, and they want merit pay to pit teachers against one another so that organizing and fundraising among teachers will become more difficult."


The National Education Association (NEA) adamantly opposes merit pay. In June 2003 NEA President Reg Weaver said: "Teachers understand that politically motivated panaceas such as merit pay and eliminating tenure do nothing to improve teacher quality. Our members are open to alternatives, but we will always oppose quick fixes designed to weaken the voice of teachers and effectiveness of education employees in all jobs."


"Say no to merit pay". Letter to the Editor of the New York Teacher. Apr 2, 2009: "We of the past knew that merit pay is a turkey and turkeys don’t fly. We knew that merit pay would give excessive power and, hence, unethical and exploitive advantages to anyone who decides who gets what to take home. We were keenly aware that no other group of workers had been asked to accept such an obvious insult. It was as apparent to us, as it is not to Ms. Weingarten, that merit pay can split a staff. We knew these things because we had the right stuff in our DNA."

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