Sunday, March 20, 2005

In Order To Form A More Perfect Union

I've had this idea in my mind for several years now, one that involves significantly reducing my union dues while simultaneously increasing my local union's bargaining position with the district.

Too good to be true? Only if you're a CTA fan!

I could find out how much of my over $80/month in union dues goes to CTA and NEA, but I'd probably get angry knowing the exact amount. I do know, though, that it's well over half. The people who represent me the most and are closest to me--my local union--see very little of that $80. Of course, they aren't out fighting Governor Schwarzenegger's proposals, either. So here's my plan.

Take the current *local* union dues I pay and add $7. That amount would be my new union dues, and would be close to what my Teamster father (retired railroad machinist) paid in union dues after 40 years (see previous post for more details). My local union will get to keep the amount it currently gets so under my plan, it suffers no financial loss. The additional $7/month would go to retain the best labor law firm in the county. My union has over 2000 teachers/counselors/etc. as members, so that would be $14,000/month, or $140,000/year, as a retainer for the law firm. That should pay for some quality work.

As I see it, here are the benefits of this plan. We get adequate representation when negotiating with the district, rather than just having teacher/unionists do the negotiating. We stand a better chance of getting better contracts, since the district would be less likely to pull the wool over attorneys' eyes than over teachers' eyes. Members wouldn't required to support the political views of unions with which they disagree, as so many of us CTA/NEA members currently are. And lastly, members keep more of their own money.

Everyone wins! Except CTA, of course. Is that such a bad thing?


EdWonk said...


I proposed something similar years ago. It's my understanding that a local can affiliate with whichever group (or none) that it wants.

Al Dempsey, The Local's President For Life (at the time) literally screamed at me that to do so would result in "decertification" and loss of all union protection and contract.

Of course he was wrong. But New Ideas are frightening to your run-of-the-mill union hack.

Most "union people" are primarily interested in regressive across the board pay-raises for teachers on the cusp of retirement.

That's why they will often bleat about smaller class sizes, but almost always deal it away in exchange for another 1% on the salary schedule. That's why class sizes never seem to actually get smaller.

And Al Dempsey? He designated his own successor, (his best friend Bruce Roberts) who promptly turned around and spent over $1000 in ECETA monies for an invitation only retirement party and gift (golf putter) for Dempsey.

By the way, Mike from E.I.A. dropped by and left a few more good comments at our place.

Dan Edwards said...

Good Idea Darren. But, what about NEA ? You won't get their magazine anymore. Presidente Weever might not get his $250,000+ annual stipend. Some yet to be recognized freakowacko minority might not get recognized, honored and nurtured at the next NEA-RA convention. DO YOU SEE THE HARM IN WHAT YOU PROPOSE ?

Darren, just a quick question about your negotiators; do you get to elect them or are they appointed by your local president? Here in the desert, they are appointed, usually due to their relationship with the officers, not on their ability or heaven forbid, their prior work on behalf of the teachers they negotiate for. At one time, some of us tried to change our bylaws to allow the election of negotiators. This was quashed by the leadership "forgetting" to announce the meeting where this was proposed. Only the leaderships clique showed up and of course, baaaaed it down. (sheep noise, from the term "sheeple" which I think was coined by Michael Savage).