Maryland Bill Would Make Agency Fees Mandatory

Michigan eliminated agency fees amid the storm and thunder of union protests and breathless media reports, but the field is awfully quiet in Maryland, where the state teachers’ union is sponsoring legislation to make agency fees mandatory statewide.

I won’t repeat the arguments against agency fees, but Maryland’s case has an additional irony: Ten of the state’s 24 school districts already require non-members to pay agency fees to the union. The provision was negotiated into teachers’ contracts through the collective bargaining process, which is supposed to be the sacrosanct method for achieving gains in teacher pay, benefits and working conditions. But the Maryland State Education Association has been unable to persuade the remaining 14 school districts to go along, so it calls on the state legislature to circumvent the negotiating process in those districts.