Saturday, July 07, 2007

Teachers Unions

California is an "agency shop" state. That means that since the feds have ruled that unions are required to represent me even if I don't want them to, California says that I have to pay my "fair share" to the union for such representation. I must do this even though I refuse to be a CTA or an NEA member. This is a problem.

The feds created the problem by requiring the union to represent me, and California compounds that problem. It would be better merely not to force the union and me to associate at all. Freedom of association, and all that.

Some states are "right to work" states. Unions are still required by the feds to represent all workers if they represent any in an organization, but workers in right to work states are not required to be members or to support the union financially.

Let me state categorically: Every (non-military) American has a right to join a union. Every American has a right not to join a union. Every American should have the right not to support a union financially.

I've said that before on this blog, but it bears repeating. Often. Honestly, I don't understand how any American could legitimately disagree with that sentiment.

The California Teachers Empowerment Network isn't anti-union. It isn't pro-administration. It supports California's teachers, giving them information that will allow each of them to make informed choices which satisfy his or her own conscience.

I have no problem with unions. I have a huge problem with compulsory unionism.

Some might say: You knew about this going into teaching. You consented to it. Deal with it. Actually, I didn't know about it going into teaching, but that's irrelevant. Let me share a story with you.

From about 1821 until the early 1970's, West Point required all cadets to attend chapel services on Sunday morning. Cadets marched to the Catholic Chapel or up the hill to the Cadet Chapel. The stated reason for this requirement was for a cadet's moral and ethical training and character development. Everyone going into West Point knew about this requirement. It's clearly unconstitutional, but that didn't stop its occurrence for over 150 years. It's not until a cadet and some Naval Academy midshipmen filed a case, Anderson v. Laird, that made it all the way to the DC Court of Appeals, that the practice ended.

Honestly, are union supporters so blinded by their own desires that they can't see the injustice of compulsory unionism? Will it take the Supreme Court to fix this problem which the Congress could more easily solve by passing a national right to work law that eliminates the harmful parts of the National Labor Relations Act?

Congress created this problem, Congress should fix it. The Republicans had 14 years to pass a national right to work law and didn't do so. The Democrats would never go against their union overlords in such a way--in fact, the Democrats are trying to make it even easier for unions to move into businesses by getting rid of secret ballots and allowing card checks.

It's about as anti-American as you can get.


Anonymous said...

This is my biggest concern going into teaching. I do not want to be forced to join a union that does not accurately reflect my beliefs and values.

Anonymous said...

Most of us didn't know about this compulsory union membership upon signing our respective teaching assignment contracts. Didn't Ask, Didn't Tell.

Those that did know, knew that if they DIDN'T join, that they would get NO job. No Union, No Job.

Not sure which one is worse.

Darren said...

Eric, then don't. Refuse to sign the union paperwork (yes, it's entirely legal) and immediately go through the steps to become an agency fee payer. You *may* still have to authorize payroll deductions, though, for your agency fees.

To find out how to do this, visit the CTEN web site.

Coach Brown said...

I also didn't realize the cumpulsory union membership when I started teaching. I really think the local union is trying (except for our dog poop healthcare) to make things better for teachers, so I'll stick around and raise hell.

But I spit on the CTA and NEA, both of which are bascially special interest corporations that tax the employees to fund agendas that half the employees don't agree with, and may even hurt the company.

Greg said...

Come down here to Texas -- we are right-to-work.

Indeed, we have multiple teacher associations in the state, but all of them are strictly voluntary. I'm the building rep for one of them, and my main job is putting out recruitment info and from time to time dealing with a grievance situation.

Oh, and I did initiate a complaint with the association last May that actually eventually led to the passage of legislation this year that actually protects teachers.

Greg said...

And before you ask -- we are not an NEA or AFT affiliated organization.

Darren said...

I met many such people from across the country at the Concerned Educators Against Forced Unionism conference. They certainly liked voluntary professional organizations as opposed to compulsory unions--paid a mere fraction of the close to $1000 teachers in my district will pay in union dues this year. As an agency fee payer, I'll pay about $500 but won't even get to vote on my own contract--because only union members can vote on the contract.

Greg said...

And my membership is being upped to $140/year -- including my liability insurance.

The only down side is that teacher contracts are not collectively bargainrd down here -- you take what the district decides to give you.

Law and Order Teacher said...

I was a police officer for over 26 years. I was union president for 5 years. I continually fought endorsing candidates.The Fraternal Order of Police wanted mandatory dues payment. I fought that too. When I went into teaching I mistakenly thought it would be the same. Silly me. My major problems are that I have no choice, they support candidates I disagree with, and the president of the union makes a disgusting amount of money.

DesertSurfer said...

This whole union issue is a big one for me. I have been a life-long Republican and come from the management sid of the business word so I wa not excited about he NEA and all of its political work. But when I became a teacher I (reluctantly) joined my union for one reason only - to get free legal representation incase something went wrong in my classroom.

This last week I was asked to go to my state's union leadership conference and I was just blown away by the overt hostility towards Republicans even though I found out 39% of the membership is indeed Republican.

I well admit, though, that my union views are changing. I am still very much against the political arm of the NEA but I really enjoy working with my local union on dealing with working issues right in my district.

But I would totally be right there with you if I was forced to pay into it even if it was something I wanted. That is just not American!

Anonymous said...

We need to talk.

I am a former AFSCME union member of Alaska local 52.

The union business manager and the Business Agent that repesented me came straight out of the Adminisration that did the illegal hiring practices.

My choice is that I can get jurisdiction in Santa Clara, NorCal, Oregon, Washington, or Alaska, where in my usual haunts I fear for my life. Seriously.

Are there any support groups I can get with?

People do set out to ruin your life when you challenge their illegal actions. But I think I finally got ther atention of the Ninth Circuit Court alleging aan ethics crisis in Alaska.

I see that some of the things I cited as evidence of this 'Crisis" are under investigation by the FBI, but I still wait to be re-instated with backpay.

Aree there any out there with who want to be a part of exposing the DIMOCRAT side of the " Corrupt Bastard'S Club?"

Contact me at


I can use pro bono help, or help with picketing in Santa Clara County, but at the same time sincere about injustices.... unlike AFSCME which appears to be a management tool to subvert the laws of the state and country.

In th Ninth Circuit have described an ethics crisis in the state that now seems to be under investigation by the FBI. Yes the name VECO and Ted Stevens And Ben Stevens were in those pleadings.Google them for the latest news.

One convicted, three plead guilty and several more indicted. Let's learn from this, and then can I get back to work aafter whistleblower retaliation?

Oh, then I guess the work has just begun, Can I get a hand?

Anonymous said...

I am so vehemently against what the NEA stands for as well as the MEA (I teach in Michigan). These agenda-driven organizations infuriate me with their left wing propaganda and brainwashing of members. Yet it's hard for me to understand why so many teachers, supposedly "educated" people fall for the empty rhetoric. Forced membership and outrageous dues are so unfair, especially when they are funneled to causes for which many of us are morally opposed. I'm looking for some answers in Michigan. If anyone knows of helpful resources, I'd appreciate it!

Darren said...

I'll post an email message I received, as for some reason the comment posted has become lost in the ether:


The Educational Action Group is doing great work in Michigan. Please visit their website --

Larry Sand