Forced Unionism at Taxpayer Expense


Steven Greenhut explains how forced union membership hurts the public on the California Policy Center Online. His comparison includes teacher and police union officials.

America’s public school systems are notorious for their rubber rooms. That’s where teachers deemed unfit to work in a classroom pass the time as their disciplinary actions or terminations move through the convoluted system. This can take years, and while it does, the teachers collect their full paychecks as they twiddle their thumbs. It’s a vestige of our union-dominated school system, which has so many protections (for teachers, not kids) that it’s nearly impossible to fire bad actors.

Here again the comparison to the public-education system is relevant. The state’s rules, advanced by public-sector unions and by their allied legislators, are designed to protect the public employee rather than the citizen.

In the 2014 education-related Vergara decision, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu tossed California’s system of tenure and other teacher protections because they threaten the constitutional rights of those students subjected to the bad teachers.

The judge wrote that an expert called by defendants found that 1 percent to 3 percent of the state’s approximately 275,000 public-school teachers are “grossly ineffective.” That means somewhere between 2,750 and 8,250 such teachers are in the classroom, which leads to a “direct, real, appreciable, and negative impact on a significant number of California students.” The judge also found that it takes two to 10 years to dismiss a teacher, and costs the district $50,000 to $450,000 to bring these cases to a close. The case was overturned by an appeals court and the appeals decision was not reviewed by the state Supreme Court.