Like many first-year teachers, I enjoyed no protections despite forced union representation (and paying union dues) since a teacher’s contract strictly declared that non-tenured faculty could be removed for any reason. “For the cut of your hair” is the common refrain to describe the arbitrary, unjust power of administrators and school boards.
For the record, this arbitrary retribution is no after-school special.
In Manhattan Beach, CA, a French teacher was removed for some petty, if non-essential offenses. A teacher in Redondo Beach, CA was forced out on administrative leave for unclear reasons. Clearly, union membership did not benefit them. Even tenured faculty in the South Bay area have told me that their union has not fought hard for them, but has often acquiesced in the face of administrative pressure and economic realities.
Despite this lack of protection, these teachers are forced into a union, or at least to pay those dues, called “agency fees”. Despite the outrage from concerned educators who resent these legal extortionist measures, there is little that they can do. In the Golden State, the not so golden California Teachers Association commands overwhelming influence, regardless of its substandard representation for teachers, or parents and students.
All of the may change by the end of the next Supreme Court session.
Because of one tenacious Orange Country, CA elementary teacher, Rebecca Friedrichs, these union dues will face renewed scrutiny from the highest court in the land. Based on recent legal precedent and concurrent dicta, plus the political zeitgeist across the country (since SCOTUS seems to pay more attention to what Americans are believing rather than the rule and writ of law), public sector union dominance of the individual member’s paycheck and the political process is numbered indeed.
Here in the state of California, teachers’ rights are getting trampled upon. We are forced as a condition of employment to pay these fees, and I started complaining about that immediately, at the beginning of my teaching career.
Friedrichs faulted the CTA for not protecting or promoting children, but instead their “narrow, left-wing progressive agenda”. Their opposition to parental choice moved her greatly, but she also added: “Give us or constitutional rights to freedom of speech”.
As this case has advanced, CTA has listened, and they are bracing for the worst. The latest convocation of the CTA, with info-laden PDF, identified the new concerns and challenges which will face the union – and implicitly California teachers – if the Supreme Court strikes down those agency fees. Pro-union advocates contend that these non-paying employees would become free riders, getting representation without paying dues. The Mises Institute established succinctly that union members, and the non-union counterparts, are actually forced riders, granted no choice in the representation or the fees.
From Thomas Jefferson to the National Right To Work foundation, the consensus on freedom is clear: to force people to pay dues to an organization, which sponsors candidates and causes against their personal beliefs, is the essence of tyranny. Individual employees/members should know the rank yet open hypocrisy of union leaders, like the NEA leader, who takes in a six- figure salary, regardless of his service or accomplishments, all while preaching “social justice”.
Despite this moral turpitude of forced unionism, the California Teachers Association enjoys undue, unjust, illiberal influence in Sacramento. The UC Berkeley Student Newspaper “The Daily Californian” commented on their outsized power, dwarfing other special interest. Two of my previous South Bay assembly representatives, Betsy Butler and Al Muratsuchi, were both union-beholden Democrats who had caved to the CTA. Butler helped kill a teacher pervert bill, SB 1350, by abstaining. LA Weeklyand CNNboth hounded her cowardice on the non-vote. She lost her 2012 reelection bid, then a 2014 bid for state senate.
Muratsuchi, a former school board member, had initially proposed reforms for removing teachers guilty of egregious misconduct. The final, doctored version, with input from the CTA, made it harder to remove pervert teachers, and same-party Democratic Governor Jerry Brown vetoed the bill. He later lost reelection in 2014.
That veto notwithstanding, Brown has routinely caved to the CTA, from his 1970s administration allowing them to bargain collectively, to today, in which he challenged the Vergara v. CA decision, which struck down “last hired, first fired” and “teacher tenure”.
2014 GOP Gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari indicted him forcefully:
You had a choice between fighting for the civil rights of poor kids and fighting for the union bosses who funded your campaigns. You sided with the union bosses. You should be ashamed of yourself, Governor!
Even former “Republican” governor Arnold Schwarzenegger fell under the spell and influence of the Teacher’s Union, trying to a “Can’t beat ‘em, so join ‘em” mentality. The CTA schooled the Terminator, big time. He tried to cut deals, then got sued by them. TV ads blanketed the airwaves for months, with the 2004 Teacher of the Year calling the Governator a liar and a failure. For more information on the overwhelming “Head mistress” power of the CTA, read Taxifornia, which documents the tax-and-spend prolonged legacy of liberal laboratory California, dominated by the CTA, which has killed a number of policy reforms through massive ad campaigns of distortion and frustration, all with forced union dues.
Friedrichs v. CA will lead to teacher (and California taxpayer and municipality) freedom from the CTA, if the SCOTUS final ruling ends agency fees, and protects individual liberty and freedom of expression from forced unionism. The CTA’s undue influence through forced union dues will cease. With a bankrupted CTA, and defunded public sector unions to follow, Democrats will have to campaign on the force of ideas (they have none). California Republicans could gain legislative seats in 2016, then contest the governor’s seat in 2018.
The potential ruling could impact unions nationwide, and Democrats will find themselves scrambling for renewed funds to push their left-wing, special interest agenda, which has left out many who have sought to reform local governance, entitlements, and education without the waste, fraud, or cover-up.