Teachers Are Highly Paid, Survey Shows

Published May 1, 2007

A study released in January 2007 by the Manhattan Institute found the average public school teacher is paid 36 percent more than the average white-collar worker in the same metro area and works an average of three hours less a week, at 36.5 hours. How Much Are Public School Teachers Paid? uses the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ annual National Compensation Survey to compare teacher salaries with the salaries of other white-collar workers in 66 metropolitan areas.

The Allegheny Institute reviewed the study and noted, “The average public school teacher pay is $34.06 per hour in 2005 as compared to $25.08 per hour for white-collar workers–a 36 percent pay advantage for teachers. Detroit had the highest average hourly pay for public school teachers at $47.28 followed by San Francisco at $46.70.”

Pittsburgh salaries were middle of the road at $37.10. Charlotte reported $25.18; Atlanta reported $32.90; Dallas reported $29.62; and Phoenix reported $26.26.

Union Membership Continues Slide

The labor movement’s freefall has not stopped. Union density (membership as a percentage of the workforce) continued to decline nationwide, dropping from 12.5 percent in 2005 to 12.0 percent in 2006, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ annual report on union density, released in January.

Private-sector union density dropped from 7.8 percent in 2005 to 7.4 percent in 2006, according to the report. Despite significant organization efforts and victories, even public-sector union density fell, from 36.5 percent in 2005 to 36.2 percent in 2006.

Overall, there were 326,000 fewer union members in 2006 than in 2005.

Support for Secret Ballots

Does anybody outside the Beltway support H.B. 800 (known as the “Employee Free Choice Act”), proposed Congressional legislation that would kill workers’ secret ballot rights and require employers to recognize unions if a majority of workers mark a check on a card?

The Wall Street Journal reported on March 2, “polls [show] 90% of the public thinks card check is a racket.”

The U.S. House Education and Labor Committee Republicans’ March 1, 2007 issue of “Left Turns” cited a poll conducted in January 2007 that asked whether “every worker should continue to have the right to a federally supervised secret ballot election when deciding whether to organize a union.” Eighty-seven percent of respondents agreed. Seventy-nine percent opposed the “Employee Free Choice Act.”

The elimination of secret ballot elections is opposed even by union members. In 2004, a Zogby International poll of more than 700 union members found 78 percent believed Congress should keep the secret ballot election process in place.

WEA Wants to Circumvent Court

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hand down its ruling in Davenport v. WEA and Washington v. WEA by June 2007. The decision will settle whether Washington state’s paycheck protection law, which requires unions to ask non-members before spending their dues on politics, is constitutional and does not burden the Washington Education Association’s (WEA) free political speech rights.

But WEA is not waiting for the ruling to continue its campaign to undermine the law. It drafted legislation, introduced in both the House and Senate, to gut the law, which was passed by 72 percent of voters in 1992, and circumvent any ruling.

The legislation, if passed, will create a presumption that “a labor organization does not use agency shop fees when it uses its general treasury funds to make such contributions or expenditures” if it can cover the expenditures with funds from non-agency fee sources.

That language runs counter to established U.S. Supreme Court precedent.

Ryan Bedford ([email protected]) is a labor analyst with the Evergreen Freedom Foundation in Olympia, Washington.

For more information …

How Much Are Public School Teachers Paid?, http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/cr_50.htm

Hourly Pay: Teachers vs. White Collar Workers, http://www.alleghenyinstitute.org/briefs/vol7no7.pdf

Bureau of Labor Statistics Data on Unions, http://www.bls.gov/bls/blsuniondata.htm

“The Honeymoon’s Over Big Labor-Backed Bill to Kill Secret Ballot Voting in Union Organizing Elections Reveals REAL Democrat Agenda,” January 31, 2007, http://republicans.edlabor.house.gov/left_turn.shtml

“House committee passes union bailout bill,” http://www.effwa.org/main/article.php?article_id=1911&number=265

“Legislature: Union Bailout State Emergency?” http://www.effwa.org/main/article.php?article_id=1882&number=265