LOS ANGELES (WordNews.org) May 1, 2013 – The National Education Association, the largest teachers union in the country, is being sued by Christian Educators Association International over forced union dues.
The suit was filed by the Center for Individual Rights on behalf of Christian Educators. CEAI is asking the courts to stop the NEA from requiring educators to pay union dues.
“The NEA and its affiliates support issues that many of our members do not want to invest in such as abortion and same-sex marriage and the union opposes other issues many of our members support such as school choice and other forms of school reform,” said CEAI Executive Director Finn Laursen.
NEA referred calls to the California Teachers Association. The CTA’s spokesman, Frank Wells, issued this statement to WordNews.org:
“CTA has not yet had time to review the suit. Based on the press release it appears to be another baseless challenge that has been attempted through one avenue or another in the past.
“No one is forced to join a union or to spend money on politics. The lawsuit seems self-contradictory. It acknowledges that those represented by unions can opt-out of paying for non-representation charges and them complains that they are somehow forced to pay for them. The opt out process is neither arduous nor intimidating, as claimed in the suit, and CTA facilitates that process every year.
“Suits like this mirror voter-rejected initiative attempts like Proposition 32 which are clearly really about weakening unions and worker rights, and not about protecting workers with rights they already have now anyway.”
The CEAI, however, said while it is true that in California teachers can opt out of the union, they still have to pay union fees unless their objection is religious. In order to object on religious grounds, the association said teachers must go through a cumbersome process which requires the religious objector to surrender the amount of the fees to a charity approved by the union.
CEAI said it is simply asking the courts to free its members from being forced to contribute financially to support a union agenda they do not agree with or to be compelled by the union to financially support a charity.
“Forcing our members to financially support a union they choose not to belong to for the opportunity to practice their profession seems contrary to the principles our forefathers penned into our Constitution,” Laursen said. “We are not questioning teachers’ rights to form or join unions, the rights of unions to collective bargain, or the practice of unions promoting liberal agendas, political issues, or candidates. We are simply asking that teachers be set free from being forced to financially support the union and its activities.”
CEAI was founded in 1953. Its members include classroom teachers, administrators and para-professionals in education.