Sprague, WA - In an historic move, teachers of the Sprague-Lamont School
District voted to decertify the teacher union and replace it with an
independent professional organization called the Sprague-Lamont Professional
Educators Association (SLPEA). This is the first school district in
Washington to have made such a move. On a national scale, only a handful of
school districts have been successful in booting out their unions.
The movement's accomplishment, led by science teacher Jim Dishon, means that
teachers in this school district no longer are forced to financially support
any union on the local, state or national level, including the Washington
Education Association and the National Education Association, in order to
have a voice in the bargaining process.
"It is liberating to declare our independence from the teacher unions," said
Jim Dishon. "Most of our teachers balked at paying $700 in annual dues to
the union, much of which would have helped fund social and political agendas
which were often personally offensive."
Dissatisfied with their union, the teachers of the Sprague-Lamont School
District requested that the Washington State Public Employment Relations
Commission conduct an election, which resulted in the certification of SLPEA
as the district's new bargaining unit for teachers, replacing the
Sprague-Lamont Education Association, the local union.
"SLPEA believes that teachers should have choices in representation. It is
my hope that other teachers take our lead and exercise their choices," added
SLPEA sought the assistance of Northwest Professional Educators (NWPE), a
non-union, non-profit professional educators association based in Spokane,
to educate them about negotiation options, legal and liability insurance,
benefits such as medical insurance as well as other needs of teachers.
Sprague-Lamont teachers have joined NWPE for its non-bargaining support
services such as liability insurance, legal services, professional
development resources, and teacher scholarships and classroom mini-grants
for a fraction of the cost of union dues.
"Having worked with NWPE, it was clear to us that SLPEA can provide for our
local needs without the high cost of sending dues to WEA or NEA," Dishon
remarked. "It is great to have the support of a like-minded organization
which believes that when teachers are free from union control, both teachers
and students benefit, and the quality of education is improved."
Sprague-Lamont Professional Educators Association
Contact Jim Dishon, 509-257-2511
Northwest Professional Educators
Contact Cindy Omlin 800-380-6973