Monday, March 03, 2008

Illegal Statement? Or Just Stupid?

Do not pass go, do not collect $200.

A friend forwarded to me an ad for a teaching position in the nearby Rocklin school district. There's a glaring legal error in the job posting:

EMPLOYMENT STANDARDS: Bachelor's Degree with valid California Single subject Teaching Credential authorizing service in assigned subject area. NCLB compliance and EL authorization (ELA, CLAD, BCLAD, BCC, ELD/SDAIE, LDS) are required. Membership and dues in Rocklin Teacher's Professional Association/CTA are required. (boldface mine)

WRONG! As much as the union folks would like that to be true, the US Supreme Court has ruled that employees do not have to be union members. In California, though, which is a so-called "fair share" state, we can opt out of the union but still have to pay a specified percentage of union dues as an "agency fee" since the union is legally required to represent all employees.

The morally right and just thing to do is not to require unions to represent those who don't want to be represented by the union, and not to require those people to pay for this representation they don't even want. But current state and federal law is the law.

But Rocklin's ad is definitely wrong from a legal standpoint. I wonder if it's actionable, similar to if they'd put "no blacks need apply" in their ad....

If you'd like more information about opting out of the union (I get a rebate check from the union each year in the amount of about $350, right before Christmas), please visit the web site for the California Teachers Empowerment Network.


Anonymous said...

Have you ever taught in a non-union state?

It sucks.

Darren said...

And that's reason enough to require me to pay a union?

Besides, having attended the Concerned Educators Against Forced Unionism conference last year, I can attest to the fact that there are thousands of teachers across the country who *like* not having to deal with the machinations of a union. There are even one or two districts in California where there isn't a union, Clovis being the most well-known.

I view forced unionism as a "freedom of association" issue.

Anonymous said...

"And that's reason enough to require me to pay a union?"


"I view forced unionism as a "freedom of association" issue."

No one forced you to be a teacher.

Darren said...

No one forced that instructor at CSU East Bay, the one who refused to sign the loyalty oath, to be an instructor, either. I assume you agree with her firing.

No one forced anyone to go to West Point, either, but for about 150 years cadets were *required* to attend chapel services on Sundays. The Supremes ruled that knowing in advance about an unconstitutional requirement doesn't make it constitutional, and I use the same argument regarding union membership.

Anonymous, it's hard to determine if you're just being obtuse or a jacquesasse. If the former, I hope to educate you. If the latter, leave--you're not welcome here.

Curmudgeon said...

Here in Vermont, many schools have an "agency fee" for any teachers who refuse to join the union.

Union dues: $550
Agency Fee: $450

It's not "forced" per se, but effectively so.

Anonymous said...

If this is a moral issue, then you should quit.

Life is short.

Darren said...

OR, I can raise awareness of the issue and work to correct it.

Anonymous said...

Awareness my butt. Everyone knows unions suck.

You do this to vent.

If you had any fear of being fired, you would keep your trap shut.

I NEVER hear you complain about your principal.

I think you should quit and move on with your life.

You might be happier.

Darren said...

My principal doesn't do much for me to complain about. When he has, I've written about it here. But since you point out that I have no fear of being fired, I have no reason *not* to attack my principal--except that he gives me no reason to. Given that, your comment is stupid.

I appreciate your concern for my happiness. You know what would *really* make me happy? If you shut your piehole and quit being a troll here. Disagreement is one thing, and I welcome it; being a jacquesasse is another--and, to paraphrase Shania Twain, it don't impressa me much.

Lord Floppington said...

I feel on your side on the union issue. If you could totally cut yourself off from your union, what happens to your salary and benefits? Would you negotiate your own package, separate from what union members get?

We have a budget crunch now. If layoffs came, would you go to your district and offer to work for ten dollars less per year than a union colleague at your same spot on the salary schedule? $100 less? $2000 less, if it meant keeping your job?

If there was some way to guarantee that your union only spent dues on negotiating salary and benefits within your own district, would you still not want to be a member, or be an agency fee payer?

Dr Pezz said...

I actually just started working for my local and I (surprisingly) enjoy it. We have a great relationship with the district and have on-going negotiations in monthly meetings.

The only thing that really bothers me about some of the non-union members is that some of them openly attack the union but immediately come to us for help when they feel wronged. They also don't refuse the extra benefits and pay we negotiate for them either.

However, I do think you have a point about forced unionism. I don't endorse your view, but I understand it. In my state the union has done more good than harm and has protected teachers numerous times from overzealous administrators and parents.

DADvocate said...

No one forced you to be a teacher.

One of the stupidest lines of "logic" there is. Essentially, saying let's put all sorts of unnecessary restrictions, etc. on you preferred occupation or career path and if you don't like it, tough.

You don't like the laws of the U.S? Well, no one is forcing you to live here. Don't try to improve things, promote freedom, increase effectiveness, etc. Unfortunately, the anons of this world have some sort of thought disorder or other mental malady.

Darren said...

Excellent question, Lord Floppington.

I don't think it's reasonable to expect my school district to negotiate individual contracts with 1500+ teachers, and God-only-knows how many other employees. Tempering my idealistic views with reality, I see why some sort of group/organization needs to exist. So I accept my "local" teachers union, the one representing all teachers and counselors in the district.

Sadly, though, I cannot be a member of just my local union. If I want to be friends with them, by their rule I also have to be friends with *their* friends--the state and national unions (CTA and NEA). As those are really just arms of the Democratic Party, I have nothing but contempt for them.

And Dr. Pezz, I've been a union rep--before I even got tenured, for a time. I've also been on a "strike/crisis team" for my local.

If union membership were voluntary, and therefore unions were accountable to their members and had to *earn* their dues money, I'd have no problem with them at all. However, what we have now is akin to a monopoly, where a government agency forcibly takes my money and gives it to a non-governmental agency with which I do not agree.

In Right-to-work states, unions have to "earn" their members--and since the unions are just extensions of the Democratic Party, they are significantly smaller in those states. Why do you think non-government unions have shrunk so much since their peak 50 years ago?

Anonymous said...

"I don't think it's reasonable to expect my school district to negotiate individual contracts with 1500+ teachers, and God-only-knows how many other employees."

Okay, I'll bite :-)

Isn't this what every non-union company with 1,500 employees has to do?

What do you think is different about teaching that this isn't reasonable?

-Mark Roulo