Saturday, November 26, 2011

Agency Fee Rebate

Yesterday I received my agency fee rebate from the California Teachers Association (CTA). I receive this because in California, a "fair share" state, I'm required by law to pay dues to the CTA even though I'm not a member. Each year we "objectors" and the CTA have to jump through hoops, and we get refunded to us money the teachers unions--NEA, CTA, and local--admit to not spending on activities related to union organizing. The amounts are determined by an "impartial" auditor that's chosen and paid for by the CTA.

Last year I paid over $1,000 in union dues. Over $1,000. Refunded to me was $358.20. Here's the exact wording of the letter accompanying my check:
As noted in our prior letter, the rebate percentages are:
NEA-56%
CTA-28.6%
LOCAL-28.6%

Look how much money these organizations are spending on activities not directly related to organizing employees! And remember, this is what their paid auditor says isn't chargeable, imagine what a truly impartial auditor would find!

What are these other, non-chargeable activities? Political donations and lobbying, to start.

18 comments:

EdD said...

You and your fellow teachers can always decertify CTA and your local union and form a Local Only Teachers' Association (LOTA). You will then have greater oversight on how your dues are spent and more direct control of those whom you elect to spend them.

Darren said...

As I see nothing of value from the CTA or the NEA, I would welcome this change. I don't see it in the cards, though.

Anonymous said...

113.2%?
There seems to be an error.

Darren said...

The error is your understanding. The percentages pertain to the percentage of money from each level (national/state/local) that must be refunded. In my ideal world it would add up to at least 200%, as in principle I don't have a problem with local unions.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for changing the text of your original post to account for *my* error.

maxutils said...

But Darren . . . since they usually support candidates and causes you agree with, you're actually getting a free ride.

maxutils said...

Not to bitch Darren, but your response to Anonymous was snarky and unclear. He might have been yanking your chain, but on the assumption that he wasn't, may I clarify?

Suppose you pay $100 in union dues. Suppose $20 go to NEA, $30 to CTA, and $50 to your local.
Then, 56% of the 20 comes back from NEA; 28.6% of the 30 comes back from CTA; 28.6% of the 50 comes back from the locals.

Darren said...

I didn't change the text of the post at all. And Max, you're *funny* about getting a free ride on CTA's political coattails. It may befree, but it's nowhere I want to go.

Cal said...

I think about doing it every year but decide not to. Our school site gets a fair amount of pressure because our PAC participation rate is 30%, whereas other schools in the district are at close to 100%. I worry that they'd notice if I pulled out, and I don't want to make waves.

At this school, I'm constantly struck by how supportive and non-ideological the local reps are. Yeah, we get the Vote Dem nonsense at election time, but the rest of the year they are really in your corner. I think that disconnect between the political power Dem juggernaut at the national/state level and the care and concern of the local reps probably explains why more teachers don't opt out.

barrysbites said...

Hope you don't mind, but I used your post as the basis for my own post on the Teachers Count blog.
Check it out:
http://teacherscount.wordpress.com/2011/11/27/responsibilities-of-unions/

maxutils said...

Darren, you know me better than that. I WAS yanking your chain.

Darren said...

Cal, most of your dues money goes to the state and national unions.

Cal said...

Darren--I know. But what does that have to do with my post? I didn't say, nor do I think, that dues go to the local union.

Darren said...

You laud your local union and don't seem to have undying loyalty to the state/national unions, so you remain in the triad, where most of your money goes to the levels you seem least to support.

That's what it has to do with your comment. It just seems a little bass-ackwards to me, is all.

Cal said...

There's no "so" about it. No causal connection, at least of money. Apparently you dismiss or didn't read this statement:

" I think that disconnect between the political power Dem juggernaut at the national/state level and the care and concern of the local reps probably explains why more teachers don't opt out."

Notice the utter absence of any mention of money.

Darren said...

So why do you willingly support the Democrat juggernaut? Because your local union is friendly? If that's your answer, fine, but it's not one that I'd give.

Cal said...

No. I don't "support" the Dem juggernaut. They assure me that none of my money is going to political activities--that this only happens if I join the PAC. I'm not sure I believe them.

You seem determined to argue with me for one incorrect reason or another, when I was just speculating why, perhaps, more teachers don't opt out as you did. In my case, it has nothing to do with support for the Dem party and every reason with not attracting attention. Principals and teachers both are disproportionately Dem, and I'm not going to pull out of the union untiol I have tenure somewhere.

But given how supportive and nice the local reps are, I can certainly see teachers who might otherwise pull out be reluctant to because they would see it--rightly or wrongly--as a pulling away of support for the local reps. And it's not all about money.

Darren said...

Your money *does* go to the PAC, at least $20 of it directly, plus whatever they squeeze from other parts of their budget. I got that $20 refunded, too.

I'm not arguing with you for incorrect reasons. I'm giving you facts--facts you don't seem to dispute. Most of your dues money goes to the state and national unions. As I showed in the percentages provided by the union, over half of the national dues money goes to activities (politics) not related to organizing and representation, and over 1/4 of the state money does. So your money *is* supporting the Democrat juggernaut. That may not be your intent, but that's what's happening.

You don't have to opt out, but neither can you make an argument here like "the reps are nice so I'll stay in" and expect not to be challenged on it.