"A Hefty Latte and a Muffin"

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation (NRTWLDF) held a press conference yesterday to announce its lawsuit against the California Teachers Association’s political dues assessment. And, as might have been predicted, all their speakers were shouted down by a mob of union activists.

Let’s tell the story in quotes from the players:

– “In the spirit of silencing dissent, they came out to try to intimidate the teachers who were trying to assert their constitutional rights,” said NRTWLDF Vice President Stefan Gleason. “It didn’t work.”

– “We bend over backwards to observe the rights of members and fee payers,” said CTA President Barbara Kerr.

– “This is an example of the kind of intimidation, bullying and thuggery that our public school teachers are enduring (from the union) every day,” said state Sen. Tom McClintock, R-Thousand Oaks, who was there to support the lawsuit.

– Asked about the fact that the dues assessment is ostensibly targeted for debt service and not political action, CTA spokesperson Sandra Jackson said, “To my knowledge, there is no loan. I don’t know about any loan.” (Maybe the Union Fairy left the $21 million CTA spent in one day earlier this month.)

– But the quote of the day goes to Paula Caplinger, member of the CTA board of directors. After warming up with “Proposition 75 is all about silencing workers’ voices. I guess it’s a little taste of what a silenced voice is like,” Caplinger really hit her stride by stating that the $6 per month assessment was merely the cost of “a hefty latte and a muffin.”

No doubt Ms. Caplinger would object to my taking $6 per month from her paycheck so I can buy a hefty latte and a muffin, or maybe just use the money to support EIA. Alas, the law says when I do it, it’s stealing.


CTA Dues Increase Brings Class Action Suit

* The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation will announce the filing of a class action suit against the California Teachers Association over its $54 million special assessment to fund its campaign against November’s ballot initiatives. A press conference will be held at 11 a.m. Pacific time.

* Attorneys for the NEA-affiliated Education Support Employees Association (ESEA) asked the Nevada Supreme Court to cancel a union representation election for some 8,000 school employees. The union has been embroiled in a battle with Teamsters Local 14 for more than three years. ESEA claims the Teamsters need to provide a membership list to force an election. The Teamsters claim they have enough signature cards to satisfy the law. A Teamster win would be devastating to NEA in Nevada.


Hell Freezes Over

EIA has previously commented on the “fair weather federalists” who suddenly discovered the Tenth Amendment when the No Child Left Behind Act came along. Apparently the contagion is spreading. Now we have Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), one of the leftmost members of the U.S. Congress, voicing her concerns in the wake of Hurricane Katrina about eminent domain abuse and the circumvention of property rights guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment.

“The taking of private property for private use is in my estimation unconstitutional, unAmerican and is not to be tolerated,” Rep. Waters said.

If this trend continues, we’ll soon have Ted Kennedy noticing that the Commerce Clause only permits Congress to regulate commerce.


Bad News for Connecticut’s Prince of Wales?

* There are few things more predictable in life than the fact that the incumbent vice president of an NEA state affiliate will run for, and win, the presidency of that affiliate when the position opens up. EIA once checked, and discovered that more than 60 percent of state affiliate presidents had acceded in that fashion (another nine percent were incumbent state treasurers).

So it’s unusual when the incumbent vice president decides to run for president, and his challenger receives the endorsement of the sitting president and the previous president.

Connecticut Education Association President Rosemary Coyle is term-limited out, and Vice President Phil Apruzzese is running for the office. But both Coyle and former CEA President Daria Plummer have endorsed challenger William Murray, the president of NEA Danbury (Danbury was the launching point for the union career of former NEA President Bob Chase).

I don’t know who Apruzzese cheesed off, but the CEA election will now feature a singular contest between endorsements and tradition.

* The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in the NEA Alaska case is making lawyers all over the country sit up and take notice.