A recently obtained a list of CTA contributions from its Association for Better Citizenship political action committee shows that a proportionally great deal of it is going to San Bernadino and San Fransisco.
For November 2011 local elections, CTA donated $14,432 to county party committees, ranging from $80 to the Tehama County Democratic Central Committee to $3,500 to the Orange County Democratic Central Committee.
In addition, the union PAC contributed $226,542 to at least 63 local elections. These ranged from $350 to the Chualar Teachers Association to support the school board candidacy of Rosalba Moreno to $20,000 contributions each to the United Educators of San Francisco PAC and the San Bernardino Teachers Association PAC (three of four school board winners).
Here’s the full list of PAC contributions to local affiliates and their ultimate destination, if available:
Alvord – $3,000
Baldwin Park – $3,234 ($1,078 each to Jack White, Natalie Ybarra, and Mary Ferrer, school board candidates)
Banning – $2,000
Beverly Hills – $2,000
Brawley – $1,500
Burlingame – $600 (Measure E – education parcel tax)
Chaffey – $4,250
Charter Oaks – $1,800
Chualar – $350 (Rosalba Moreno, school board candidate)
Citrus – $2,000
College of the Canyons – $10,000
Compton – $5,000
Culver City – $3,000 (Nancy Goldberg, school board candidate)
Dixon – $1,400
Eastside – $2,000
El Centro – $500 (Patricia Dunnam, school board candidate)
El Monte Union – $1,500
El Segundo – $2,000
Empire – $1,000
Eureka – $2,500
Fairfield-Suisun – $9,466
Garvey – $1,450
Hacienda La Puente – $4,200
Hart – $8,000 ($4,000 each to Gloria Mercado-Fortine and Steve Sturgeon, school board candidates)
La Canada – $1,000
Laguna Salada – $830 (Yes on L – parcel tax increase)
Las Virgenes – $9,000 (Measure K – parcel tax)
Lynwood – $5,000
Modesto – $9,000
Mountain View – $1,890
Newark – $575 (Measure G – school bond)
Newhall – $4,536 (Measure E – school bond)
Norwalk-La Mirada – $6,300
Oakdale – $4,000 (Synthia Jones – $3,000, Tina Shatswell – $1,000, both school board candidates)
Pacific Grove – $2,000 (Measure V – parcel tax)
Palmdale – $13,500
Perris – $1,000
Pomona – $6,000
Potter Valley – $1,000 ($500 each to school board candidates Tammie Smith and Diane Johnson)
Rio Hondo – $10,000
Riverbank – $2,000
Riverside – $4,000
Rosemead – $500 (Qui Nguyen, school board candidate)
Salinas – $1,600
San Bernardino – $20,000
San Francisco – $20,000
Sequoia – $5,000
South Tahoe – $1,400
Sulphur Springs – $2,200 ($1,100 each to Denis De Figueiredo and Rochelle Weinstein, school board candidates)
Sylvan – $3,436 (Steve Miller – $2,000, Chuck Rivera – $1,436, both school board candidates)
Temple City – $1,925
Ukiah – $3,500
Vacaville – $5,000
Visalia – $3,000 googletest
Westside Union – $1,400
Wilsona – $1,200
In each instance, the above money is in addition to whatever money may be raised and spent by the local affiliate. In large cities, this may be substantial. In smaller towns, this may be non-existent, giving the local teachers’ union power over local elections far beyond its numbers.
What is it like to have the CIT Model working for your association?
Horizon Certificated Employee Association has retained Goyette and Associates since June of 2009. In this relatively short time, G&A has provided our association and its members many comprehensive and competent services by professional representatives including attorneys, professional labor negotiators and access to survey and research departments.
It is great having a multiple labor representatives and attorneys dedicated to our association, its members, and our school. Their intimate knowledge of how our school operates in addition to the understanding the nuances of our labor agreement have changed the dynamic between our school’s administration and our association. In three years G&A has provided exceptional representation for countless grievances, coordinating and overseeing multiple fair association elections, filed several unfair labor practices, provided representation during disciplinary hearings, assisted in the monitoring of school budgets, accounting and business practices in addition to coordinating contract negotiation preparation guidance and successful contract negotiations. G&A’s labor representative assigned to our association provides at a minimum weekly contact regarding personnel issues and any outstanding issues between our association and our school’s administration.
The most impressive aspect of the service provided by G&A is the personal connections they have made with our membership, our association’s executive board, and maybe even more importantly is the mutual bridge of trust, honesty and respect that they have built with our school’s administration and human resources department. The impact of this positive relationship building has had an immeasurable effect on our members, our communication and problem solving with administration, and as a result a better more effective school.
CTA takes a huge amount of dues yet has created a representation model in which your colleagues, as part of a largely volunteer set of officers, bargaining team members, and shop stewards, do the vast majority of the work for your members. The money you send to CTA goes to pay for a huge, and ever growing, administrative bureaucracy, that apparently leaves no money for professional negotiators and lawyers to handle your disciplinary matters, contract enforcement, and bargaining.
Our Better Model is predicated on your independent teacher association having the freedom to hire, and thus fire, the labor and legal professionals that provide services to them. We do this every day and know what it costs to represent public employees, including teachers. The cost is far less than what CTA charges you because we don’t have the overhead and administrative costs they do, nor the political lobbying expenses they incur. Any extra money that you save (at least 50% of your current dues and maybe as much as 80%) can be returned to the teachers or spent on the services and issue that your local association decides is most important to you.
How Do the Big Teacher’s Unions Get Away With Such High Dues?
As a California public school student through high school, son of a public school employee, and a long time coach at a public school for fifteen years, I have seen how hard the majority of teachers work, despite the obstacles they are forced to deal with on a daily basis. As a labor attorney, I am shocked at that these same dedicated and intelligent teachers have tolerated and continue to tolerate being represented by a union that takes from them much more than what it gives them.
Over the past couple of years, and especially since last March when I have taken a more active role in helping to represent the Horizon Certificated Employees Association (HCEA), a public charter school teachers association, I have started looking into what the traditional, “big” teachers unions offer their members, and at what price.
The standard union dues for a full time teacher in California is about $650/year for the state association and another $175 for the national association. The local association keeps another $100-$300. The part-time dues are lower proportionally. That comes out to over $100 per month since most teachers are paid on a ten month contract.
What do these teachers get for these high dues? Surely they must get an attorney to represent them if they are being investigated for discipline or have a professional labor negotiator working for them to negotiate their contract or handle workplace grievances and problems? No. For the most part, teachers use a system of stewards (fellow teachers) to “represent” other teachers as they go through the disciplinary process. When it comes to bargaining, teachers typically have a negotiations team that spends hours undergoing training from the state association to negotiate for themselves. To be fair, the state associations do provide some level of professional support, but far less than the huge dues would suggest.
For comparison, Goyette & Associates represents a large number of police, fire and general employee public employee associations. Each of these associations’ members gets professional representation at the earliest stages of discipline and we are actively working with each group on their contract issues and negotiations. Even the public safety unit with the highest rate of usage pays only 60-70% of what teachers pay in union dues.
Surely, the political arm of the state and national teacher associations must justify the huge dues? Die-hard members may make this argument, but the reality is that only a small portion of union dues actually get to political campaigns. Most dues goes to the huge administrative overhead of these massive organizations. Certainly, California teachers’ unions have a big voice in state politics, but that does not clinch the argument that teachers ought to pay such high fees for that voice. In the alternative framework below, a local teachers association can use the money currently earmarked for the state and national groups and use most of it for local politics, or send it to the big unions for politics – but by choice.
There is another way of doing this.
A local California teachers association with 800 members currently brings in about $800,000 in dues. Of that, almost $700,000 goes to their state and national associations. The other $100,000 is used by the local association to cover meeting expense, a small local office and maybe staff, and other costs. Usually, one of the biggest “discretional” expenses is travel and registration fee expenses to attend conferences and trainings put on by the state and federal associations.
What’s the alternative? Decertification…”fire” the big union.
What if instead of the budget picture painted above, the local association could keep that $700,000 in dues each year? The local association would still keep its rights to collectively bargain a contract with the school district, but it would have the freedom to decide how much and to whom ALL of its membership dues were spent.
An “independent” teachers association with these 800 teachers could take the $700,000 and do a lot of things…this is just one possibility: 1) Use $240,000 and hire a law firm to provide the teacher members with professional representation at every step of the disciplinary process and to hire a professional labor negotiator; 2) Return $200,000 to the members ($200/year); 3) Set aside the other $260,000 for a combination of public relations, local politics and state/national politics. For the politics/PR piece, think about the impact this teachers association would have in a local school board election (the group that approves their contract) if they spent even a portion of that $260,000 on a local election. Also, if the membership felt strongly about the political actions of the state and/or national associations that they formerly belonged to, they could simply send them a check for whatever amount they wanted to support their activities – I doubt that the money would not be accepted.
But Decertification has to be nearly impossible to accomplish? Not true. The process is actually simple and straightforward, though there are some critical timelines that must be met and each step has to be properly taken. The reality is that there are decertifications taking place throughout California of big unions in all layers of public services. The biggest obstacle to teacher taking charge of their labor organizations and dues is their ignorance of the alternatives to the status quo.