Last week I received my agency fee rebate from the CTA. At the risk of repeating myself (I do have over 3500 posts on this blog so far!), several courts have held that I cannot be compelled to pay for a union's activities that do not relate to union organizing or employee pay, benefits, and working conditions. I pay full union dues each school year, and in about January of the following year an arbiter decides which union expenses are chargeable to me and which are outside of the allowable categories. My percentage of those disallowed charges is my agency fee rebate, and I receive that rebate check from the CTA each fall. Please click on the agency fee label for more details in general, and read this post for more specific information.
I received almost $400 last year; this year I received only $330. These rebate amounts are calculated but by an arbiter paid for by the CTA. CTA is required by law to pay for this, and it seems exceedingly unlikely that they would pay an organization that consistently ruled against their interests. I question the impartiality of the arbiters CTA hires.
The arbiter looks at the expenses for the NEA, the CTA, and the local union, and determines which are chargeable to agency fee payers and which are not. Here are the rebate percentages from last year:
CTA and local--38.7%
Here are the percentages from this year, an election year:
CTA and local--29.1%
The figures above are percentages that CTA's hired arbiter calculated are outside of the approved categories.
Given CTA's expenditures since the summer, I expect that next year's rebate percentage will be significantly higher in the CTA/local category. Given that I have no reason to trust the American Arbitration Association in this arena, though, there's no telling.
As I said, I received $330 back. I'm going to spend over half of that by rejoining the Association of American Educators, through which I receive better liability insurance than I would through CTA. I learned about AAE from the California Teachers Empowerment Network, a grassroots organization of teachers who serve to counter and balance the one-sided information teachers get (often from the state union that's supposed to look out for their interests).