Monday, September 26, 2005


Dear Laura

Dear Laura and staff:

I listened with great interest this morning to your interview with the proponents of Proposition 75. I think a few comments of clarification should be made (please note that I am a conservative Catholic Republican and a member of the California Teachers Association):

1) "Agency Fee" teachers - these teachers are those who opt not to join the union in their district that is recognized for collective bargaining. These teachers pay a fee for the purposes of supporting the collective bargaining process that results in a contract. They do not receive any liability insurance as they do not pay for it. They also do not contribute to any political funds used by the union. The relatively recent change in the law on this issue came about in response to the "free-rider" problem in that some people enjoyed the benefits of collective bargaining without paying for it. I happen to think that mandatory agency fees should be abolished, but that is not at issue in Proposition 75.

2) I cannot speak for other unions, but the CTA Membership Enrollment Form has a specific and clear section that allows one to opt out of having part of a member's dues go to the political fund. Said money is redirected to the General Fund which can be tapped for other issues related to employment but not politics. Now, one can argue as to whether or not those funds should be refunded to the member who opts out or given to a charity of their choice, but, once again, that is not the primary focus of Proposition 75.

The CTA membership form is quite clear on the issue of political funds. Any CTA member that claims otherwise should not be a teacher. I selected to opt of the CTA/ABC political fund when I joined. Any teacher may do so when he or she joins or may change their position by simply resubmitting the simple form and shading the correct bubble on the form. I do not know if the forms of other unions are as clear, but the issue that is supposedly being corrected by Proposition 75 is a non-issue for the CTA.

Matthew J. McKinley

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