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People came out in droves to support or oppose San Clemente resident and Anaheim teacher Rebecca Friedrichs’ U.S. Supreme Court case against teachers’ unions on Jan. 6. A decision on whether public employees should be subject to compulsory union dues is expected to be rendered in five months. Photo: Courtesy of The Center for Education Reform
People came out in droves to support or oppose San Clemente resident and Anaheim teacher Rebecca Friedrichs’ U.S. Supreme Court case against teachers’ unions on Jan. 6. A decision on whether public employees should be subject to compulsory union dues is expected to be rendered in five months. Photo: Courtesy of The Center for Education Reform

By Bill Prestridge, San Clemente

In response to the article (Local Teacher’s Case Heard by U.S. Supreme Court) in the Jan. 14-20 edition of the San Clemente Times, Ms. Friedrichs is not correct in many of her assertions. First, California Teachers Association has no influence on teachers’ salaries or class size. For example, in Capistrano Unified School District, where I taught for 38 years, the local association Capistrano Unified Education Association negotiates with the CUSD School Board on issues such as class size, salaries, merit pay, etc. CUEA does not take direction from CTA and CTA does not deal with CUSD. So, teachers in a local district vote salaries, class size and other local issues when a tentative contract is reached. Then the district teachers ratify that agreement. Our teachers voted many times to forgo higher salaries for reduced class size and other issues they felt were more important than salaries. Ms. Friedrichs needs to be a member of her local negotiating team so she can get lower pay in exchange for reduced class sizes in her district.

The second lie being told is that “this does not challenge public employee union’s rights to collective bargaining.” This decision will weaken public unions to the point that they will not be able to negotiate effectively and Ms. Friedrichs and her fellow conservatives know this.

This case is about the conservative effort to destroy collective bargaining and union representation. Without mandatory fees, many teachers will opt out of paying their fair share— money that is used by CTA and National Education Association to support legislation that is beneficial for public education to survive. CUEA has a separate fund for political action that is strictly voluntary; teachers do not have to contribute. In my district, we always had teachers like Ms. Freidrichs who complained about CUEA, but when CUEA negotiated a pay raise or lower class sizes, they happily accepted the results. This is an issue by conservatives to destroy a cornerstone of the democratic base and take power away from teachers, police and firefighters. It is not about the First Amendment.

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