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Chalkboard Rebellion in the Golden State
Townhall.com ^ | May 12, 2013 | Neil McCabe

Posted on 05/12/2013 6:28:28 AM PDT by Kaslin

Ten California teachers are suing to break one of the strongest iron triangles in American politics, where the taxpayers pay the teachers; the teachers’ union supports candidates and referenda, and that leads eventually to the teachers getting better pay, benefits and working conditions.

A civil rights law firm filed a federal law suit April 30 on behalf of 10 California teachers and the Christian Educators Association International challenging the state’s closed shop law that has them contributing to support political activity they opposed.

"Individual teachers have a constitutional right to decide for themselves whether to join a union and financially support its efforts," said Terry Pell, president of the Center for Individual Rights, the Washington-based non-profit law firm taking on the case.

"The government may not compel teachers to provide financial support to policies with which they fundamentally disagree,” he said.

Rebecca Friedrichs, one of the teacher plaintiffs, said, “The union spends millions of teachers' hard earned monies supporting causes and candidates that many of us oppose.”

Friedrichs said she does not want to control or stop the union from its activities. “The union is free to press its agenda, but individual teachers should not be forced to pay for it.”

It comes down to fairness, she said. “It is shocking to me and many other teachers that union officials have the power by law to spend our wages to press for causes that many of us oppose on moral, fiscal, or philosophical grounds."

By going after the California Teachers Association, these teachers are going after the biggest fish in the 50-state pond. In the Golden State, the CTA donated more than $150 million in political donations between 2003 and 2012, according to the website followthemoney.org. The other defendants are the National Education Association as well as 10 affiliated local teachers’ unions and local school officials.

In the last decade, the CTA gave 89 percent of its contributions to ballot initiatives, 10 percent to Democrats and less than 1 percent to Republicans, according to the site. The union backed 299 winners, 77 losers and a total of 625 incumbents.

California is a state with a huge political tradition of getting things done by ballot referendum, and the union was deeply involved in left-wing causes. In 2003, the union gave $250,000 to a fund called: Californians Against the Costly Recall of the Governor, during the recall election of Democrat J. Graham “Gray” Davis Jr., and 2008 the union donated $1.3 million to defeat Proposition 8, a referendum that amended the state constitution to outlaw same-sex marriage.

In 2012, the CTA spent $21 million to successfully defeat Proposition 32, which would have prohibited paycheck-deductions to unions to support political causes. If that seems like a lot of money, consider the teachers union was only in for a third of the $65 million raised from dozens of other unions in the state.

With the defeat at the polls, California opponents to compulsory support of union political activities need are turning to the courts.

“Forcing educators to financially support causes that run contrary to their political and policy beliefs violates their First Amendment rights to free expression and association and cannot withstand First Amendment scrutiny,” said Michael A. Carvin, partner with Jones Day and lead counsel for the plaintiffs.

“The Supreme Court questioned the continued constitutionality of ‘agency shop’ laws last year in the Knox decision,” he said.

The Supreme Court ruled in the 2012 Knox v. Employees Intl. Union that the Service Employees International Union in California violated the First Amendment rights of its non-union members by forcing them to pay a 25 percent increase in union dues without their consent to help fight ballot initiatives in the state, he said.

In his majority opinion, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., wrote: “Because a public-sector union takes many positions during collective bargaining that have powerful political and civic consequences, the compulsory fees constitute a form of compelled speech and association that imposes a significant impingement on First Amendment rights.”

Dues and agency fees yield the CTA 2011 revenue of more than $191 million. The revenues came not only from member dues. The “agency shop” law means to compensate unions for their work “collective bargaining” on behalf of all workers, members and non-members, so non-union teachers are obligated to pay dues to a union they do not belong.

Depending on the local union, non-union member teachers in California can pay more than $1,000 a year to cover their share of collective bargaining expenses. These expenses include the CTA magazine “The California Educator,” despite the publication’s intense political tone and messages.

The CTA similarly charges programs advocating the gay rights agenda and union conferences and activities as collective bargaining.

Annually, non-union member teachers can opt-out of the mandatory dues, but the law suit contends that the process is complicated and exposes teachers opting out to harassment.

The suit argues there is no compelling reason to continue that agency shop process.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; US: California
KEYWORDS: cta; nea; thugs; union

1 posted on 05/12/2013 6:28:28 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

Seems it should be an American fundamental right to have freedom of expression and support or NOT to support the causes one believes in. I say it´s time to let people CHOOSE. The Choice People of abortion should be all over this one and allow people to do what they want with their money...as they say people have a right to do what they want with their body.


2 posted on 05/12/2013 6:33:58 AM PDT by rovenstinez
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To: rovenstinez

I agreee absolutely. But this is CA, and these teachers are going to be crushed. There are no individual rights here.


3 posted on 05/12/2013 6:37:30 AM PDT by onedoug
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To: Kaslin

I pray for them and their cause. These unions need to have less power than they already do, and definitely less money...


4 posted on 05/12/2013 6:47:46 AM PDT by Thorliveshere (Tais deau sá taghdedaul!)
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To: Kaslin
Friedrichs said she does not want to control or stop the union from its activities. “The union is free to press its agenda, but individual teachers should not be forced to pay for it.”

I strongly disagree with that. Why should a union have any right to press an agenda that is not connected to its reason for existence? A union is not a person; it is a special interest group, ostensibly formed for the purpose of advancing a specific special interest. If an issue is not explicitly mentioned in the union charter, then what gives the union the right to use its members' money to advocate for or against that issue?

5 posted on 05/12/2013 6:48:01 AM PDT by exDemMom (Now that I've finally accepted that I'm living a bad hair life, I'm more at peace with the world.)
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To: Kaslin
Annually, non-union member teachers can opt-out of the mandatory dues, but the law suit contends that the process is complicated and exposes teachers opting out to harassment.

This was already settled in the California courts long ago.

6 posted on 05/12/2013 6:58:47 AM PDT by BigBobber
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To: rovenstinez
The Choice People of abortion should be all over this one and allow people to do what they want with their money...as they say people have a right to do what they want with their body.

The **only** "choice" the Pro Choice people support is the choice to choose death over life.

One of the problems with conservative groups is that they focus on one narrow topic and the legislation surrounding that issue. The progressive/Marxists, in contrast, infiltrate our institutions and destroy from within.

Seems it should be an American fundamental right to have freedom of expression and support or NOT to support the causes one believes in.

1) Your statement above condemns the very existence of compulsory K-12 socialist-entitment schooling. It is impossible to have a religiously, politically, or culturally neutral education. It is an abomination that any citizen should be under **police threat** to support any government sponsored educational system because to do so fundamentally support government sponsored and NON-neutral religious, political, and cultural indoctrination of children ( the nation's next generation of voters).

One way to totally eliminate the lobbying power of the California Teachers Association is to eliminate the need for government socialist-entitlement teachers. Remove the conservative and Christian kids from the schools, provide attractive private alternatives for all students, work for the complete shut down of all government socialist-entitlement schooling and the 800 lb. Marxist gorilla ( the CTA) disappears.

7 posted on 05/12/2013 7:01:53 AM PDT by wintertime
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To: Kaslin

Government-employee unions should be illegal.

Anyone who supports them should be publicly flogged.


8 posted on 05/12/2013 7:06:40 AM PDT by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: onedoug

They should never have joined the union to begin with... teachers in California do not have to join the union... and they still reap all the bargaining benefits... i come from a family of teachers in Cali...


9 posted on 05/12/2013 7:47:49 AM PDT by latina4dubya (when i have money i buy books... if i have anything left, i buy 6-inch heels and a bottle of wine...)
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To: Kaslin

This is settled law under the Beck decision.


10 posted on 05/12/2013 7:52:44 AM PDT by Lurker (Violence is rarely the answer. But when it is it is the only answer.)
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To: Kaslin

California is lost. This State is the number 1 most corrupt State in the Union. There is little more to be said.


11 posted on 05/12/2013 8:20:28 AM PDT by Logical me
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To: wintertime

re: “. . .compulsory K-12 socialist-entitment schooling.”

I understand the “compulsory” part, but I’ve never understood the rest of the description that you constantly make about public schools. My question is, aren’t the police and fire departments just as “socialist” as the public schools? They are all financially supported through taxes. Not everyone will call the police or the fire department, so why should a citizen who never calls the fire department have to pay taxes for it?

A majority of people in each state, county, town at one time decided that educating the children who lived in those entities was a positive for everyone - because the children were the future professionals and leaders which would, at some point, affect all of us. Just as having a police or fire department can/may have a positive benefit for all the citizens of that community. So, what’s the difference?

I’m not defending idiotic curriculum or low standards - I think each town, city, state should determine what they want their schools to be - without any federal government intervention. In fact, there should NOT be a Federal Dept of Education. The Federal government has NO constitutional authority to get involved in it whatsoever. However, isn’t that up to individual states whether or not THEY want to have publicly supported schools? Is that necessarily “communistic” as you always say? Again, if schools are, then why not police and fire departments?

re: “It is impossible to have a religiously, politically, or culturally neutral education.”

I agree, but wasn’t there, at one time, a set of common values shared by most Americans that we wanted our kids to know and adhere to? - the ideals expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution? Does the religious expressions in the Declaration impede on others religious or non-religious beliefs? The Declaration is not neutral either, nor is the Constitution - is that bad? Aren’t the values expressed there ones that we WANT our children to know?

You equate public schools with socialism/marxism/collectivism by definition. I don’t see that that MUST be the case. I don’t see any difference between publicly supported schools and publicly supported police and fire departments. If the people of a town, city, or state doesn’t want those institutions, couldn’t the people of that state vote to remove them?


12 posted on 05/12/2013 8:43:12 AM PDT by rusty schucklefurd
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To: rusty schucklefurd
Last time I checked the police and firemen were not teaching children to think and reason godlessly.

Children who attend our nation's GODLESS socialist-entitlement schools MUST think and reason godlessly just to cooperate in the GODLESS classroom, read and understand their GODLESS textbooks, and complete their GODLESS home assignments. How could it be otherwise?

And...Every argument you have use to defend our nation's compulsory-use, compulsory funded, socialist-entitlement , and single-payer schools will be used in a few decades to defend Obamacare!

13 posted on 05/12/2013 9:12:03 AM PDT by wintertime
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To: latina4dubya

The Mrs is CalPers and hates high school. But I’d been coaching baseball there - for essentially nothing - for the past three seasons until her retirement this summer, and I loved it.

A study in contrasts, however odd.


14 posted on 05/12/2013 9:37:03 AM PDT by onedoug
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To: wintertime

So, the Declaration of Independence is GODLESS? The Constitution is GODLESS? The common American values as expressed in these documents, our Pledge of Allegiance are GODLESS? Teaching students to sing “God Bless America”, “The Star Spangled Banner”, “America, the Beautiful”, and “America” are GODLESS??

It sounds like you accept the Supreme Court’s decision that public schools may not have prayer? Do you accept the Roe v. Wade decision as well?

Don’t bother responding, I already know what you’ll say.


15 posted on 05/12/2013 5:50:06 PM PDT by rusty schucklefurd
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To: rusty schucklefurd

The worldview of the government schools is GODLESS and secular.

The child’s specific religion, his church scriptures, his religious leaders teachings are specifically prohibited from being integrated into the total fabric of the GODLESS government school worldview.

A nod or two in the direction of God does not make a GODLESS socialist-entitlement K-12 school GOD-CENTER. In fact, it is a slap in the face to God.


16 posted on 05/12/2013 6:06:10 PM PDT by wintertime
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To: wintertime

re: “The worldview of the government schools is GODLESS and secular.”

Then every government entity, by your definition, must be Godless. From the military, to police, fire departments, to border patrol, by that definition, all are Godless.

I deny that. The founding principles our our nation are based on Judeo-Christian values from the Bible. Those prnciples are imbued into our Constitution. It is often denied by leftwing politicians and judges, but that doesn’t change the truth.

Those common American principles have been taught in public schools, and in at least some public schools, are still being taught. The military does not have to operate as the Salvation Army to be Constitutional. That does not make the military Godless. That is not it’s purpose.

Public school’s are not intended to be theological schools. Their basic purpose is to teach reading, writing, and math to our nation’s children so that they can function in business and in personal finances. I’m not denying that leftwing ideologues have attempted to sabotage that purpose. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. Only if we let them.

Our discussing this issue is, on a certain level, moot, because with Obama’s election and re-election, I fear that our county is a dead-man walking anyway. As a Christian I believe that we will not be tolerated in any area of public life or be permitted to speak our views in the very near future - in some places this is already the case.

So many Christians have abdicated to secularists our local, state, and federal governments. Many Christians have also done the same with our universities and our public schools. I once played one of the shepherds in a Nativity Play at my public school back in the 1960’s. That would not happen today because Christians have been so complacent about what is going on in government. Nearly 30% of evangelical Christians do not even vote.

So, have it your way, wintertime. Our government and all it’s institutions, by your view, were Godless to begin with. So what is the point of arguing over it.


17 posted on 05/12/2013 7:03:59 PM PDT by rusty schucklefurd
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To: rusty schucklefurd

The military is not FORCING children to think and reason GODLESSLY!


18 posted on 05/12/2013 7:20:33 PM PDT by wintertime
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To: wintertime

re: “The military is not FORCING children to think and reason GODLESSLY!”

So, the focus and basis of our military is God-centered?


19 posted on 05/12/2013 7:39:14 PM PDT by rusty schucklefurd
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To: rusty schucklefurd

Government schools, being godless in their worldview, force children to think and reason godlessly. The children must just to cooperate in the godless classroom.

The military has never abused children in this manner or in any manner.

Why are you defaming and INSULTING the brave men and women serving in our armed forces? Shame!


20 posted on 05/12/2013 8:10:37 PM PDT by wintertime
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To: wintertime

re: “Why are you defaming and INSULTING the brave men and women serving in our armed forces? Shame!”

So, you agree that our military is not necessarily Godless even though it is not “God-Centered” in it’s purpose, and that a government entity does not, by definition, have to be Godless?


21 posted on 05/12/2013 8:21:48 PM PDT by rusty schucklefurd
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To: rusty schucklefurd

Again, you are insulting our military.

The military would never abuse children or mistreat them in any way. None would FORCE children to think and reason godlessly....but....Government teachers do!


22 posted on 05/12/2013 9:27:26 PM PDT by wintertime
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To: wintertime

re: “Again, you are insulting our military.”

Once again, what I’m hearing you say, is that you agree that our military is not necessarily Godless even though it is not “God-Centered” in it’s purpose, and that a government entity does not, by definition, have to be Godless?


23 posted on 05/12/2013 9:46:09 PM PDT by rusty schucklefurd
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