Oh, the irony!

By Chantal Lovell
May 10, 2021

This week marked Teacher Appreciation Week – a time when, in normal years, students may have gifted their beloved instructors with apples or homemade cards of appreciation. But with many schools still locked down thanks to union intransigence, some took their celebratory messages to Twitter. 

And boy, were they ironic

“We celebrate and thank you,” read a tweet by Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell, D-Long Beach. Another shared similar sentiment. Well-meaning as those messages may have been, they came only days after the Tweet writers, along with their other Democratic colleagues that make up the Committee on Public Employment and Retirement, killed a bill that would have protected a very basic right of California educators. 

In true appreciation of teachers, Asm. Kevin Kiley, R-Rocklin, introduced Assembly Bill 1484. But Kiley’s bill didn’t get so much as a committee hearing. That’s thanks to a bevy of new rules implemented by the supermajority party that make it easy to quash proposals brought by Republicans early in the legislative process. 

Kiley’s proposal is simple: ensure California educators have the information they need about their union membership rights. This was no mere feel-good proclamation that honors teachers. It would have brought California into compliance with the Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME, which gave government workers the right to work without paying a union – and which said government employers must have proof a worker has knowingly consented to join the union before deducting dues from their paychecks. AB 1484 would have required that proof and safeguarded teachers’ paychecks as a result.

That’s why CPC authored this letter of support for the bill, and worked with Kiley’s team to ensure the language of the legislation would adequately bring California into compliance with the Janus decision. 

If you’d like to donate to efforts like these, you can do so here

When Michigan implemented this safeguard by regulation last year, 13 percent of the unionized civil service employees chose not to rejoin the union, though they’ve had the freedom to leave for years. In California, 22 percent of teachers and staff have chosen not to pay union dues since the Janus decision, according to public records we’ve collected from school districts representing over 160,000 school employees. 

For politicians who rely on union campaign contributions as so many in Sacramento do, it makes sense to prevent a bill like AB 1484 from seeing the light of day. Workers won’t drop union membership if they don’t know they are allowed to. 

Teachers unions have displayed particularly disgusting behavior this past year, but we all know educators who are as fed up with unions as we are. Before this Teacher Appreciation Week comes to a close, thank those educators in your life. And if you really want to do something nice for them, send them this  link to CPC’s My Pay. My Say. There, teachers (and all government employees) can get the information Sacramento politicians are trying to hide about dropping union membership.

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