Teachers in a southern Illinois school district recently cut ties with the state's NEA affiliate. Reportedly frustrated with strong-arm tactics taken by the Illinois Education Association (IEA) union leadership, teachers in the Century school district decided that they'd prefer to fly solo. Debra Goins, President of the Century Education Association, stated, "We really felt that the IEA and the NEA were not organizations out to represent the best interests of teachers. We all felt we should have the right to choose to affiliate or not, without being harassed, bullied, lied to and intimidated."
Elsewhere in union news, across the country in San Bernardino, California, local union reps attended a job fair only to warn prospective teachers to stay away from their own school districts. Union officials from three separate districts distributed fliers highlighting a series of gripes they've had, including low pay, weak morale and unresponsive management. Union organizer Jaime Sullivan, sounding a bit more like one of his high school students than a grownup, griped that due to poor working conditions the district's teacher turnover rate is 25 percent. "We have like a revolving door for teachers." At least according to the district, however, the hit-'em-below-the-belt strategy did not deter too many job seekers.