Friday, March 18, 2005

CTA To Extort An *Additional* $20/month From Teachers

In a money grab that would be criminal if done by anyone else, the California Teachers Association will compel its members to pony up an *additional* $180 per year so it can build up a war chest with which to fight Governor Schwarzenegger, so says a report available on the Education Intelligence Agency website.

I immediately sent my local union the following email:

> According to this website, which is usually correct, CTA is planning on
> raising our dues by $180 in order to raise money to fight the governor's
> proposals. As with choosing the CTA leadership, the membership
> won't be consulted at all.
> This is egregious. I hope and expect that the [local union]
> Association will take appropriate action to challenge this theft. CTA is
> a shakedown organization that has long since abandoned any principles of
> doing what is right. Teachers in [local union] should have the option of *not*
> being members of CTA or of NEA, with a corresponding reduction in monthly
> dues deductions from our paychecks. Should this option not be offered,
> agency fee payer status--or even donation to charity--will be the only
> remaining options.
Of course, I expect to have to carry through on my threat to change to agency fee payer status because I don't think my local union leaders see anything wrong with CTA's taking more of my money.

Here are some numbers from the EIA:

At current membership levels, the increase would put more than $54 million in the union's campaign war chest, in addition to the approximately $11 million already available. Full-time teachers currently pay $533 per year to CTA, of which $36 goes into the union’s ballot initiative fund. CTA will also be seeking cash from the National Education Association, its parent affiliate, which has its own initiative fund for just such a purpose.

Currently I pay over $80 per month in combined dues to my local union, the CTA, and NEA. For those of you not from California, this state is effectively a closed-shop state, not a right-to-work state. If I choose not to be a union member, I *still* have to make a donation to a union-approved charity in an amount equal to my union dues--and then only if I can prove that I'm a member of a "religious body whose traditional tenets or teachings include objections to joining or financially supporting employee organizations"! Otherwise, I'm still required to be an "agency fee payer", which means I get a small portion of my union dues reimbursed each year. Guess who decides what proportion I get reimbursed? CTA, of course!

Before he retired, my father was a railroad machinist; his local union was affiliated with the Teamsters. He made more money than I did and paid significantly less in union dues than I did. I say it again--he was essentially a Teamster! Now the CTA wants me to pay over $100 in combined union dues so they can wage a fight with which I disagree, and do so with my money!

I've previously posted (here) that the CTA leadership isn't even chosen by the members. The EducationWonks have pointed out that the CTA leadership appears not to want members to contact them--and with this proposal, we can certainly see why! Something needs to change, and it isn't my mind.

Update, 3/19/05 9:29 am: According to the Sacramento Bee (registration required), CTA's President Barbara Kerr made the following arrogant statement, showing she thinks that money is hers and not mine:

"The governor could solve this with the Legislature. He could save teachers the $60 a year," she said. "All he has to do is work with the Legislature and come to a fair agreement for our students."

This is what happens when money is forcibly taken and not earned. If the governor really wanted to reform education and challenge this union, he'd fight to make California a right-to-work state. I don't understand the morality of compelling people to join an organization they don't want to join.


Dan Edwards said...

BRAVO Darren ! Keep speaking out against CTA. It has been a good discussion over on EdWonks. Your comments there and here on your blog are appreciated ! Keep it up!
MAYBE, someday, CTA will have leadership that is chosen by the teachers it represents. As far as I am concerned, their current situation is one of "taxation without representation". When they let us vote for our Union President, then maybe things will change.

EdWonk said...

Not only will these people be taking our money, but somehow I suspect the amounts spent for lobbyists, parties, condos, cars, and who knows what other "perks" will also likely increase.

Again, I've had no pay increase at all for three years. I would like to know what sacrifice the just re-selected "Babs" will be making in this effort.

Or is sacrificing just something that we rank-and-file dues-payers are supposed to do??

(I'll be linking this post in an update at our place.)

Phyllis S said...

Frankly, that's criminal. My adult working life has been in 'right-to-work' states, and while there are certainly drawbacks, this kind of extortion would not be tolerated. Other forms of 'screw the worker'? Being developed as we speak, I'm sure.

EdWonk said...

This post linked at our feature "Tales From The Trenches: Thoughts From Classroom Teachers."

The Education Wonks