Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Teacher Union Money

Wisconsin is not the only State concerned about the enormous amounts of tax dollars being laundered through the teachers unions and the political influence those tax dollars buy. A battle about the reach of government worker unions is being played in the State of Washington.

April 13, 2007: The Washington Legislature passed a bill Friday to allow labor unions to spend nonmembers' bargaining fees on political causes without first getting their permission, over the objections of opponents who said it was a clear attempt to circumvent a pending ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The WEA, the state's largest teachers' union, was sued by the state in 2000 and accused of violating the campaign finance law. The case stemmed from a complaint filed by the Evergreen Freedom Foundation, an Olympia-based conservative think tank. The foundation and the WEA have battled repeatedly over the years about nonmember fees.

"The bill uses an accounting gimmick to gut the law of its effect - all but eliminating the requirement on unions to get permission before spending nonmember dues on politics," said Evergreen labor policy director Mike Reitz in a written statement.

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in January on an appeal of a state Supreme Court ruling that said the WEA did not have to get special permission to spend nonmembers' union fees on politics. Several justices indicated they were inclined to reverse the state court and uphold Initiative 134.

A private organization, Evergreen Freedom Foundation is challenging the power of the union in a series of litigations reaching to the US Supreme Court. The issue is the union’s political use of money (in Justice Scalia’s words) “the State compels them to give you”.

EFF vs. WEA Summary Post: On 10 January 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court heard the culmination of many years of litigation between the State of Washington and the Evergreen Freedom Foundation (EFF) versus the Washington Education Association (WEA) over the rights of non-member teachers in the state versus the WEA’s rights to collectively associate and politic. The crux of the issue is whether or not teachers whom opt out of the union and pay fees for the union’s services of bargaining are still obliged to pay for the union’s political activity – activity at times that involves issues far-fledged from education.

We are allowing people paid with tax raised money to be required to give a portion of those tax raised funds to buy political influence, dedicated to the continual raising of taxes. This case has been below the radar but Governor Doyle and WEAC are undoubtedly keenly interested in the Court’s final decision.