Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Agency Fee

I received a check from the California Teachers Association today, for $383. Why?

I'm required under California law to tithe to the CTA since they're required by a stupid Supreme Court decision to represent me even if I don't want their representation. (This is called an "agency fee" or "fair share" situation, as opposed to the "right to work" laws in several states.) Since I'm required to pay them for representation, they are only allowed to charge me for my "fair share" of the costs of their oh-so-fine representation--which is why they've refunded $383.

The number was determined by an arbiter paid, coincidentally enough, by the CTA. This arbiter decided that the following amounts must be refunded:
NEA--56% of dues paid
CTA--32.8% of dues paid
Local union--32.8% of dues paid

Look at those numbers! Over half of all the money the National Education Association (the national teachers union) gets and spends is on "non-representational" activities such as politics. Almost a third of the state and local union money is spent on activities totally unrelated to representing my interests (or what they think and say are my interests) before my employer.

And remember, these are the percentages determined by an arbiter hired by CTA--meaning that these are only the most obvious, non-defensible charges. If I were the arbiter, I'm sure I'd find plenty of other activities that could be classified as non-representational.

"To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical." Thomas Jefferson


socalmike said...

Makes my head explode when I think of "agency fees". What a joke. They are ripping me off. Big time. I need to get off my big fat butt and get my money back like you did.

Scott McCall said...

"If it's not on Facebook, it didn't happen" - Abraham Lincoln

Curmudgeon said...

Here in VT, the school board and union together can decide if agency fees are levied on the faculty at any particular school. For the $550 union fee, the agency fee is $450.

And we don't get any of it back.

Dan Edwards said...

Did you get a copy of your local associations expenses? Those figures can be interesting to look at....and in this day and age, just WHAT negotiations are going on? Guess they know how to spend your money for 'non-negotiations."

Unknown said...

I entered teaching at age 52 as a second career here in Massachusetts. The second week of my employment (in a public school) I file a grievance against the union about its agency fee with the help of the Right to Work Legal Foundation (RWLF), putting the agency fee in an escrow account as required. After 7 years, the union settled for 50% of the agency fee, the balance returned to me. For the remaining 8 years of my career, I simply stopped putting into the escrow account, and the union never noticed, or decided not to bother me further.

I call that a draw.