Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Union Resignation

Driving to work today, I began to feel it's hypocritical of me to remain a union member when I complain so much about how they abuse my mandatory dues money and spend it on political causes that I don't support. Accordingly, I sent the following email to my union rep today:

Given the information at this National Right to Work web site, I will shortly be resigning from SJTA/CTA/NEA.

If I could remain a member of SJTA and resign only from the CTA and NEA, I would do that. In fact, that would be my preference. However, SJTA requires that I either join all three or resign from all three. This is unfortunate.

Since I will still be paying several hundred dollars a year to these unions in "agency fee payer" fees, I'd like to know specifically which union privileges and protections I'll keep and which I'll be giving up. Examples of these privileges and protections that I'm interested in include, but are not limited to,

a) voting on contracts
b) voting on union officers
c) participating in union meetings
d) legal representation during disciplinary hearings
e) local union representation during disciplinary or other contract-violation meetings/hearings

In other words, I'm asking about what I'll be getting for my $700/year and what I'll be giving up for my $300/year. I'd appreciate it if you could get this information for me from SJTA and provide it to me at your (relatively) earliest convenience.
As Caesar is to have said, "The die is cast."


EdWonk said...

What's a "Union Meeting?" In our 11 school district, we only get one "meeting" per year. It's called for the purpose of voice-voting (many say rubber stamping) recommended concessions in our contract. And of course, there's never a written copy of the agreement to consider before the meeting.

Union leaders simply bellow at anyone who asks for a copy in writing: "Don't you trust your negotiators? What are you implying!!?!!"

Down here in California's "Imperial" Valley, the agency fee runs about 90% of full combined dues. (If I quit, I get back about 10% but can't attend that one meeting, and can't speak or vote.)

Timmer of Righting America said...

Nice one Darren! I think your letter says it all.

I have never been a member of a Union, but do sympathize. How can they legally take your money and spend it on political organizations without your approval/consent?

I equate this, in a sense, to the NAACP - who recieve government support (from the taxpayer) and tax exemptions, even though they are quite clearly an overtly partisan entity!

Good post my friend, and thanks for the visit!

Darren said...

We have union meetings at our site approximately once a month.

Anonymous said...


What is the chance you will need legal assistance...and will that cost a lot more than the 300-400 per year additional you will need to pay......

Darren said...

Low. But I'm doing this on principle, which often costs.

Mike Antonucci said...

You will lose a, b and c. You will have to pay for d. You will still get e.

Walter E. Wallis said...

Time to make unions run for election every year. Secret ballot, and if they don't win they are out.

Anonymous said...

Hi Darren!
I enjoy visiting your Blog, and the comments are quite interesting and encouraging.
I would like to direct you, and any interested CTA members who are considering opting out of the political monies (that are used for 'things we don't believe in', i.e., fighting the three strikes initiative, or support for same-sex marriage, just to name a few) to the National Right to Work website at There, you will find a Special Legal Notice to California Teachers, outlining the procedure for receiving the nearly $400 refund, and becoming an agency fee payer, between September 1 and November 15, each year. This is the window of time, and the only time that this political opting out procedure can be done.
Although I received about 30 of the most hateful, vile, and profane letters from some teachers throughout the State after the first email went out (we sent out another after we were threatened with jail by Barbara Kerr), I received HUNDREDS of letters from teachers wanting to know how to leave the union, and the consequences (benefits/rewards) of doing so.
Back in October, the NRTW (National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, Inc.) offered to do a mailing for the CTA, at their expense, in order to inform teachers of this process, but the union declined to make this known to their members.
As many still believe that its just a matter of making a phone call to their local unions and having their $300+ transfered to the General Fund, teachers need to know that this is a LIE out of the PIT of HELL.
As PROP 75 teachers tried to inform all California teachers of this process during the Special Election campaign through debates, TV ads, Town Hall Meetings, and media interviews, we were continually shouted down, insulted, and silenced by union thugs and activists (U-BOTS), because quite simply the union knows that most teachers (liberals and conservatives) will choose to pull their money, just as they did in Washington and Utah when similar initiatives to PROP. 75 passed. That's a lot of political money to lose, and the CTA knows it and doesn't want to risk it. That's why they are hush-hush or vague on this subject.
By the way, ask your union reps what the General Fund is for? You'll be surprised where the (soft) money that is supposedly transfered to the GF is used for. Then again, maybe you won't be.
Either way, information is power. That is all we were trying to do when we sent out the email to the 90,000 teachers. It was an effort to tell the 'other side' of the story, and empower our hard working teachers with information that they should know anyway.

Larry Sand and I are REAL teachers, and we work with REAL kids every day in REAL public schools. We love our profession, and we only desire to keep it professional. We do not want to be viewed as political animals, but our union forces us into such a category by using a good chunk of our dues for such endeavors. Since California is not a Right To Work state, we have no choice but to be become agency fee payers, or stay in the union and have our political monies used for things that we basically have no knowledge of. Only one-quarter of one percent of the total 335,000 CTA members (about 800 reps) make these political decisions, and we never hear about them during our union meetings at our various school sites. To be fair, I don't even think the local unions know what the Mother Ship (CTA/NEA) is up to most of the time.
Once teachers understand that opting out could be the BEST thing to do, and realize that there are even greater amounts of liability from other non-political professional organizations available to them, for far less money, it is my sincere belief that teachers in general (and conservative teachers specifically) will begin to access the power that they already have, but they just don't know it. I have heard that the AAE (American Association of Educators) offer twice as much liability than the CTA/NEA. At this point, I myself am still a CTA union member, but I am considering these same options.

One other thing, we did not BUY the email list, nor was it illegally sent. The CTA outspent us, and we didn't have even one-fifth of the money that they had raised from the dues of their members, to buy much of anything, as we were conserving our limited funds for ads during the last two months of campaigning. The 90,000 email addresses were all our PROP 75 interns could locate through public records. If we could have sent more emails, we would have.

Your readers might be interested in knowing that in spite of all the money the union used to defeat PROP 75, the initiative passed in most counties - particularly Riverside, San Bernardino, and Orange - my neighborhood. Seems to me, they should have won BIGGER, right?
I will be happy to furnish more information, as requested by your Blog visitors. It will be my pleasure.
Thank you for providing truthful information to our precious educators, who deserve the truth.

Being pimped ain't easy, and it's not why we became teachers.

Those who do not agree with me, more death threats. :-)

Merry CHRISTmas!

Lillian Perry, M.A.T.
Teacher since 1972

dfu said...

Darren, check out the series I am doing on


I am working on a plan to put a stake into the heart of the union thug beast. Send me a note on FreeRepublic. We are determined to let teachers in California understand their rights.

...Doug from Upland

Darren said...

Doug, I read the posts and found them interesting, but the CTA/NEA are a little more powerful than you're giving them credit for. Full frontal assaults will result in a new Pickett's Charge.

I'm not sure what to do right now, especially since the NRTW pulled up stakes and left. I've resigned, and I'm in contact with other like-minded teachers. I'd be interested in hearing what you have in mind--please email me. The address is in my profile ( I'd have responded on your site but got tired of navigating the registration process.