Although the public employees union is presenting a united front in opposition to one of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ballot initiatives, members of the California Teachers Association (CTA) are far from unified over the amount of capital that the CTA plans to spend to defeat the measure.
At issue is Governor Schwarzenegger’s paycheck protection initiative, which would allow union members to retain the portion of their dues that the CTA does not spend on collective bargaining. “The initiative is polling at 62 % favorable among Californians right now,” according to the Evergreen Freedom Foundation’s (EFF) Michael Reitz. (Reitz, who serves as director of the EFF Labor Policy Center, will talk more about the initiative on the next broadcast of Campus Report on July 8th on www.rightalk.com.)
Against such odds, the 800-member governing board of the CTA unanimously approved an additional $60 surcharge on the rank-and-file. That effective increase comes on top of dues that already run about $700 per year. Currently, teachers’ union members in California can sign an opt-out form on their dues which allows them to redirect money spent on politics towards the charity of their choice.
Nonmembers forced to pay the dues as a condition of employment can get a rebate of their involuntary contribution to the CTA political slush fund. “The National Education Association and the California Teachers Association admit that about 38% of their expenses are not chargeable under Supreme Court precedents,” according to the National Right to Work Committee. “This means that nonmembers who apply for the rebate end up paying only about 62% of dues instead of 100 percent of dues.”
“Although the amount of unified dues varies, for members of the California Teachers Association the amount of the savings is about $300 per year,” the NRTWC notes. “(If you do this during the middle of the school year, you will receive a pro-rated refund for the rest of that school year.)”
Many teachers might find a leap out of the union too risky. The NRTWC analysis shows that it is actually worth that risk.
“You have a constitutional and statutory right not to pay for any activities other than collective bargaining,” the NRTWC notes. “You will not be subject to union discipline and regulations for objecting to paying full union dues.”
“Furthermore, it is illegal for either the union or employer to discriminate against non-members in the terms, conditions, wages, benefits, etc. of employment covered by the collective bargaining agreement.”
Malcolm A. Kline is the executive director of Accuracy in Academia.