April 10, 2015
In a lawsuit paid for by the charter-school advocates StudentsFirst, four California teachers are claiming that it’s unfair for them not to have a voice in union affairs because they’ve refused to become members. The four, who pay fees to cover collective-bargaining costs but not the 30-40% of dues that go to union political activities, are thus not eligible to vote in union elections or contract ratifications, and also can’t receive union disability and life-insurance benefits.
In a suit filed Apr. 3 in federal court in Los Angeles, they argue that the California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers “punish teachers for refusing to contribute to the unions’ political and ideological expenditures.” The suit “attacks the right of a membership organization to restrict the benefits of membership to those who actually pay dues,” Alice O’Brien, head lawyer for the National Education Association, the CTA’s parent union, responded in a statement. No court has accepted “that providing benefits only to members violates the First Amendment,” she added. Read more