Teacher Pays for Politics She Never Supported

Just four days before the November mid-term elections, college professor Mary Trometter got a letter from her teachers union, the Pennsylvania State Education Association. Well, to be precise—Trometter's husband got a letter from the PSEA.

Puzzled as to why the union would send anything to her spouse, who isn't a member, Trometter opened the letter. What she saw infuriated her.

The letter was an election mailer, telling Trometter's husband to “join Mary in voting for Tom Wolf for governor on November 4.” Trometter had never given permission for her name to be used in such electioneering, nor given any sign as to how she would vote. After years of watching the PSEA's member magazine, the Voice, grow more political and less professional, the mailer was the last straw.

Because the mailer was funded by the National Education Association's Super PAC, which can receive an unlimited amount of union dues to support candidates, Trometter's union dues likely helped to fund the letter.

Without doubt, Mary's union dues have for years funded political activites—$3.6 million alone by the PSEA in 2013-14. Government unions, not corporations or gas drillers, are the major spenders in elections. This year alone, the seven largest poured $7.3 million directly into electing candidates, with $2.7 million of that going to Governor-Elect Tom Wolf.

Undeterred by such political muscle, Trometter is standing up for her individual rights. She has filed a charge with the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board, on the grounds that such use of union dues contravenes state law. And many media outlets, from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, to the Pennsylvania Independent, to the Associated Press, are telling Trometter's story.

Trometter's experience demonstrates powerfully why we need paycheck protection, both for workers, and to remove the unfair political privilege government unions have. You can read Mary's full testimonial on why she opposes such union politics at Free to Teach, and watch her explain why she's fighting in the video below.