Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Agency Fee Rebate

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:
NEA--48.59%
CTA and local--38.7%

Here are the percentages from this year, an election year:
NEA--53%
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).

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well...you got $5.76 more than I did. But I'm pretty sure that you're right about getting more back next year.
I hear that hundreds of teachers are opting out. They're just doing it the wrong way...asking the CTA to shift their monies to charities, is not the answer.
The only way you will know that your money is not going into Union coffers is to get that one-third political chunk back in your hand in the form of a check.

mazenko said...

Darren,

Great post. Thanks so much for discussing this issue in such detail. The links and references to other sites are helpful as well. I spend a great deal of time explaining to teachers their rights, and I regularly argue against the claim that anyone can be forced to join a union. Sadly, this seems to be one of the cases where people really need to know their rights in order to secure them.

In Colorado, I am not a member of our local, though Colorado is not a right-to-work state. In fact, the right-to-work amendment is going down to decisive defeat today. Interestingly, Coloradans prefer to leave the issue up to individual workplaces. Required payment of dues is decided on a shop-to-shop basis. I'm actually a fan of this, as I'd prefer the government not decide it. Additionally, I don't have to pay any fees, though I would be willing to do so, as I don't negotiate my own contract, and I don't really want to. I'm going to look into AAE, as I am unfamiliar with it.

Thanks again for the information.

Anonymous said...

Governor Schwarzenegger can sign out Forced Unionism with the stroke of his pen, at the eleventh hour, before he leaves office...
but Will He?

That would be one Heck of a Legacy...

You Betcha!

Daniel said...

How exactly do I opt out?

Darren said...

http://ctenhome.org/knowMembership.htm

Email me if you have questions after reading this.