A Modesto Proposal

Larry Sand, California Teacher Empowerment Network, explains how The Modesto Teachers Association’s is proposing to leave the National Education Association and the California Teachers Association and the consequences for teachers.  Read the whole story in unionwatcho.org.

Upon entering the profession, public school teachers in California are forced into a unified dues structure. This means that they join a national union, its state affiliate and the local union. To ensure a steady cash flow, the union folks don’t let their members write a check or use a credit card to pay their dues. Instead, the unions simply get local districts to extract the money from a teacher’s paycheck on a monthly basis and then turn it over to the unions, all at taxpayer expense. (If teachers were allowed to voluntarily pay up, the union would be on life support.) In 2013-2014, CTA’s yearly portion of the heist is $644 while the NEA skims $182. The rest of the dues money stays with the local union. So teachers wind up paying on average over $1,000 a year to the three unions for the privilege of teaching in the Golden State.

As reported by the Modesto Bee, the MTA/CTA imbroglio in a nutshell:
In any event, this may seem like a family squabble with no ramifications for anyone outside the union circle, but there is a bigger picture worth noting. If the teachers do decide to go through with the disaffiliation (a vote is scheduled for May 6th), it will mean almost one million dollars less for CTA and over $277,000 less for NEA on a yearly basis. The money that Modesto teachers will be withholding from CTA is used for such things as communications ($22 per teacher), occupancy/properties ($20), governance ($34), etc. But while the aforementioned monies serve to feed the union bureaucracy, a hefty portion of teachers’ dues goes to politics. It is no secret that CTA is the biggest political spender in the state ($290 million in 2000-2013) and throws its weight around by fighting to limit charter school expansion and other forms of school choice, and keeping the tenure and seniority statutes in place. And unknown to many teachers and the general public, CTA spends millions on such controversial non-education-related issues as same sex marriage, implementing a single-payer health-care system in California, blocking photo ID requirements for voters, and limiting restraints on the government’s power of eminent domain.

NEA’s political spending – about $130 million a year – also has an overwhelming one-way political direction. It has given large blocks of money to the AFL-CIO, Media Matters, MALDEF and Al Sharpton’s National Action Network.