CA teachers sue union over political use of dues

CA teachers sue union over political use of dues

 

Monday marks the start of a new school year for Rebecca Friedrichs, a kindergarten teacher at Holder School in Buena Park, a Southern California city of 82,000.

Union negotiating, taxpayers, cagle, Aug. 26, 2013The 25-year veteran of the Savannah School District is to be forgiven if she is wary of the reception she will receive from her public school colleagues.

Not just because she resigned her membership last year in the California Teachers Association, the union that represents most of the state’s public school teachers.

But also because she is the lead plaintiff in a federal lawsuit, Friedrichs vs. California Teachers Association, that challenges the state’s so-called “agency shop” arrangement, which  forces her to pay dues for the collective bargaining the teachers’ union performs not only behalf of members, but also non-members — whether they like it or not. It is being heard in the District Court of the Central District of California, Southern Division.

Freidrichs would prefer not to pay the CTA $1,000 or so a year for its representation. But what really galls the teacher is the $350 or so of her compulsory union dues that go to support the CTA’s political activities, with which she disagrees.

Indeed, the kindergarten teacher supports school vouchers, which the teachers’ union has used her compulsory dues (and the dues of political dissenters among its rank-and-file) to defeat.

Similarly, she opposes measures — like Proposition 30, the $7 billion tax-increase initiative — for which CTA spent millions in union dues last year to win passage – that confer higher salaries and more generous bemefits upon teachers at the expense of everyday taxpayers.

“I think that is wrong,” said Friedrichs.

So do nine other teachers, representing public school districts throughout the state, who have joined Friedrichs in the federal lawsuit against not only the CTA, but also the National Education Association (which receives a portion of their union dues) and 10 local teachers’ unions. The CTA is a division of the NEA.

Center for Individual Rights

The lawsuit by Friedrichs and her fellow teachers was filed by the Center for Individual Rights, a non-profit public interest firm that specializes in civil rights, free speech and other cases affecting individual rights. CIS is working alongside the law firm Jones Day, with partner Michael A. Carvin serving as lead counsel for the plaintiffs.

Carvin argues, “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.”

Not surprisingly, the powerful CTA disagrees. “No one is forced to join a union or to spend money on politics,” said Frank Wells, a spokesman for the teachers’ union. If Freidrichs or any other dissenting teacher doesn’t want their compulsory dues supporting the union’s political activity, he said, they can simply “opt out.”

CIS maintains that opting-out is not nearly as simple as Wells suggests. It is an “often intimidating and time consuming” process politically-dissenting teachers must endure each and every year.

The public interest firm believes that Friedrichs vs. California Teachers Association eventually will find its way to the U.S. Supreme Court and Carvin, lead counsel for Friedrichs and her fellow teachers, thinks there is a very good possibility the justices will rule in the plaintiffs’ favor.

His optimism is based on the majority opinion of Justice Samuel Alito in the high court’s ruling last year in Knox vs. Employees Intl. Union, which held that the Service Employees International Union 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.

Wells, the CTA spokesman, suggested that the Supreme Court has previously allowed unions to offer the opt-out option to politically dissenting non-members like Friedrichs and her fellow teachers

But in Knox, the justices appeared of a different mind. “[B]y allowing unions to collect any fees from nonmembers and by permitting unions to use opt-out rather than opt-in schemes when annual dues are billed,” wrote Justice Alito, “our cases have substantially impinged upon the First Amendment rights of nonmembers.”

22 comments

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  1. Ted Steele, Janitor
    Ted Steele, Janitor 26 August, 2013, 17:44

    The teacher in question sounds like, forgive me, a bit of a moron.

    Does she think that without representation her district will do anything but give her the shaft?.

    Reply this comment
    • Notateapartyplant
      Notateapartyplant 1 July, 2015, 13:52

      I bet she’s a tea party activist with one goal to destroy public education. Being on Fox News today tells me it’s true

      Reply this comment
  2. Non union nurse
    Non union nurse 26 August, 2013, 19:13

    Thinking outside the collective makes her mentally deficient? As the spouse of a third grade teacher, I attest that the unions protect incompetence and endanger our future generations. Google: NYSchools rubber room.

    Reply this comment
  3. Rex the Wonderdog!
    Rex the Wonderdog! 26 August, 2013, 22:27

    The teacher in question sounds like, forgive me, a bit of a moron.
    ==

    LOL…OMG is that comment ironic Teddy!!!!! A moron GED educated doofus 😉 calling a teacher a moron, I love it.

    Teddy, NEVER throw bricks when you live in a glass house.

    Did you ever consider stand up???? You are a natural!

    Reply this comment
  4. Queeg
    Queeg 26 August, 2013, 23:37

    It is administration that are the morons….the talent pool is so bad everything is run by commitee hoping the bell curve will salvage decision making!

    Reply this comment
  5. Queeg
    Queeg 26 August, 2013, 23:49

    Wow! Posts have dropped off. The site ain’t much fun anymore.

    Reply this comment
  6. Rex the Wonderdog!
    Rex the Wonderdog! 27 August, 2013, 08:31

    Wow! Posts have dropped off. The site ain’t much fun anymore.
    ==
    OK, the new format sucks eggs. Sorry John, Katy, Chris, Steve.

    Even Teddy has abandoned the place.

    Reply this comment
  7. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 27 August, 2013, 09:00

    I spent many years in a municipality that had no agency shop. There was no requirement to belong to the Association–where dues were less than $15/mo–but those unjoiners loved getting the benefits that were bargained for them by the Association. Now the law does allow for the, respective, united labor groups to vote in a requirement that the disaffected non-members pay their fair shares for the representation they are receiving. Good luck, independent teachers–you are going to need it.

    Reply this comment
  8. Ted Steele, Janitor
    Ted Steele, Janitor 27 August, 2013, 09:02

    I still love this place!

    Reply this comment
  9. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 27 August, 2013, 09:03

    Stupid cartoon, as stupid cartoons usually are. Both the people sitting at that table are taxpayers.

    Reply this comment
    • K2kr
      K2kr 29 August, 2013, 11:49

      A union is not a taxpayer and the state government is not a taxpayer. Likewise the interests they represent are contrary to the interests of taxpayers who are not members of those unions or other government employees.

      Reply this comment
  10. Ted Steele, Janitor
    Ted Steele, Janitor 27 August, 2013, 09:03

    exhibit one—– look how easy it was to spin the trolls up on this one!

    Reply this comment
  11. GregS
    GregS 27 August, 2013, 10:55

    I agree – the new format sucks

    Reply this comment
  12. MikeL
    MikeL 27 August, 2013, 12:25

    The taking of Union dues for political purposes should be “opt in” and not opt out.

    Reply this comment
  13. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 29 August, 2013, 21:55

    @k2kr, The union members are taxpayers and everyone who works for a government is a taxpayer! I guess someone has to break it to you–the interests they represent are the interests of the majority of the taxpayers. If you have interests that are contrary to those of the majority, you will have to work a little harder to elect reps that will make the decisions that you want!

    Reply this comment
  14. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 29 August, 2013, 21:57

    If you really feel that strong about it, Mikel, its not that hard to opt out. Just complete the required form, and send it off.

    Reply this comment
  15. Fed Up
    Fed Up 18 January, 2014, 08:13

    Unions = organised crime….period…from a ex 30 UNION man.

    Reply this comment
  16. Cynthia
    Cynthia 20 September, 2014, 13:43

    Union Dues dollars do not support political campaigns. Union members who chose donate dollars to support candidates in political campaigns.

    Reply this comment
  17. Physicsisking
    Physicsisking 2 July, 2015, 13:23

    Adios to this lady. There is a solid private sector principle: costs vs benefits received.

    I work in the private sector and there is no such thing as a free lunch. I read all of her unverified anecdotal stories that will never be allowed in court. To get an idea of the inanity of her thought process, just replace the word “union” with”big business”, “Microsoft”. This country is in a big mess and in the find tradition of the masses, we need a scapegoat. In steps this blonde and her moral crusade.

    She IS a low skilled, less than intelligent, lower 30th percentile achiever who ran to teaching because it was all she could do. Year after year she valiantly held her tongue as those big fat union pay checks, fat pensions, and full summers off and every single conceivable holiday added up. She bravely sat there, intimidated, bullied, afraid for her life as the ugly union gave her at least a 30% wage premium.

    Ms. Friedrich ought to:
    1. Disgorge ill gotten assets.
    2. Accept a full reduction in pay back to her first day of teaching.
    3. Relinquish any claims to a fully funded retirement at union negotiated district contribution rate, AND allow the recalculation of her benefits based upon a full year of work rather than 9 months and the pre-union negotiated wage rates.

    If she were who she says she is, a woman of principle, she would do just that and then fight the fight. This knot head blonde is not Joan of Arc at Orleans. She us the white teach that sneaks on at the back door of the bus and rides for free.

    Her U.S. A great idea. Pay folks like her less and funnel that money to math and physics folks at the high school level. Fried riches is OBSCENELY OVERPAID.

    Private sector math and physics guy.
    Former PTA VP who is sick and tired of no-talent whiny K teachers

    Reply this comment
  18. Union Member
    Union Member 1 February, 2016, 09:41

    I read the transcript of the court proceedings and one thing was ask by the court, don’t you realize that this can affect thousands of contracts and millions of public employees. Obviously Friedrich and her other co-workers are just thinking of themselves. You want out of the union just opt out but don’t think millions will follow you, unions protect employees and dues keep unions running. If we did not have unions we still will have sweat shops. Friedrich did not think this one out too well

    Reply this comment
    • Rex the Wonder Dog!
      Rex the Wonder Dog! 1 February, 2016, 10:25

      “I read the transcript of the court proceedings and one thing was ask by the court, don’t you realize that this can affect thousands of contracts and millions of public employees. Obviously Friedrich and her other co-workers are just thinking of themselves. You want out of the union just opt out but don’t think millions will follow you, unions protect employees and dues keep unions running. If we did not have unions we still will have sweat shops. Friedrich did not think this one out too well”</b"
      The sky is falling…THE SKY IS FALLING!!! 🙂

      Hurry up Chicken Little, run and hide before it's too late!

      Reply this comment

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