Teachers Vote Out CTA, Opt For Independent Model
Sacramento, CA – In the past few weeks, three different teachers’ groups had the opportunity to vote on whether to continue to be represented by the California Teachers Association (CTA) or be represented by an independent association comprised of their own members. When the votes were counted by officials from the California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), teachers in each group voted overwhelmingly in favor of an independent model and against CTA.
Teachers from Corning Union High School District, Millville Elementary School District, and Springville Union Elementary School District submitted petitions to decertify CTA as the recognized representative of their teacher bargaining units. The teachers also indicated that they wanted to be represented by newly created teacher associations that are not affiliated with CTA. Instead, these independent associations may choose to retain a labor law firm to provide them legal services.
“For those of us that supported this change, it came down to saving a substantial amount of money in dues, securing a higher level of service for our members, and regaining control of our Association and our agenda,” states Lance Alldrin, President of the newly created Corning Independent Teachers Association (and former President of the Corning Teachers Association, the CTA affiliate at Corning Union HSD).
California teachers pay $1,000 or more in union dues under the CTA model. Independent teachers associations have complete autonomy on setting dues, but the typical savings is at least $500 per year for each teacher.
“We are excited to be able to partner with some tremendous teachers throughout the state,” says Rafael Ruano, attorney with Goyette & Associates, the Sacramento-based law firm that assisted these three teachers’ groups through the decertification process and is now continuing to represent the new independent associations. “Teachers have been essentially stuck in a monopoly arrangement with CTA charging extremely high dues and providing a level of service that many teachers feel is not a good value,” explains Ruano, “with Goyette, we can provide teachers with ready access to attorneys and tailored representation that allows each association to focus their energy and resources on the issues that matter most to them.”
While CTA is a major player in California politics, that is not necessarily a good thing for some teachers. “While we appreciate the things that CTA does with regard to lobbying for educational funding, many of our teachers felt disconnected to CTA as they have used dues to support social issues that many of us don’t feel have a direct connection to education,” offers Alldrin.
“We expect another round of decertification petitions to be filed next year,” says Ruano, and encourages any teachers interested in learning about the process to visit www.svorcan.info/caindependentteachers.