Wednesday, November 19, 2014

FRIEDRICHS v. CTA: Was Labor’s biggest mistake not organizing the Federal Judiciary?

2cents small What’s the opposite of local control? Distant chaos? Can it get more distant than to have the Supreme Court in Washington DC decide educational policy in California? Was the International Court of Justice in the Hague too busy?

4LAKids is not a fan of letting educational policy be set in union negotiations and enshrined in the teachers’ union contract. In my perpetual Pollyanna  position I would like curriculum, pedagogy and education policy to be set by the Board of Education in the clear light of open board meetings within the context of the California Ed Code rather than by Collective Bargainers hammering out and constantly renegotiating the union contract in all-night marathon bargaining sessions behind closed doors.

If folks are going to be spending all night at something it should be helping with homework or assembling stuff that says ‘some assembly required’! Plus, we all know that cigar smoking and bourbon whiskey drinking goes on behind closed doors. And worse!

Speaking of worse, here's an example of how to get all the way to worst:

from Politico Morning Ed |

19 Nov 2014  :: NEXT STOP: SCOTUS? A case challenging California state law mandating that teachers pay compulsory union dues now has a chance at being heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued an order [ ] Wednesday allowing the plaintiffs in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association to petition the Supreme Court for a review of their case. The appeals court had to reject the teachers' argument in order for the case to move forward. California teacher Rebecca Friedrichs filed suit when state law mandated that she pay a share of the union's collective bargaining expenses because she was covered by the negotiated contract, even though she was no longer a union member. The Center for Individual Rights is representing Friedrichs and several other California teachers along with the Christian Educators Association International in the case against the California Teachers Association. CIR President Terence Pell thinks the case might have a shot on the Supreme Court's October 2015 docket.

- 'The Ninth Circuit granted Friedrich's motion to decide the case quickly on the basis of existing law, which means she loses for now,' Pell said. 'But it also means she can immediately ask the Supreme Court to the hear the case and ask it to overturn its prior decisions that allow states to make union dues compulsory in 26 states."

- Friedrichs and her co-plaintiffs have insisted that the only court that can provide relief is the highest court in the land. The plaintiffs say the case concerns fundamental First Amendment rights: Individual teachers and other public employees should decide for themselves whether to join and financially support a union. And states shouldn't be allowed to compel union members to continue their financial support when those members disagree with the union. For example, teachers shouldn't have to financially support the political positions often taken by unions in collective bargaining negotiations, the plaintiffs argue [].

- The Supreme Court previously signaled its distaste for state laws that require public sectors to pay union dues, but the court stopped short of doing away with them. In late June, the Supreme Court ruled [ ] by a 5-4 vote in Harris v. Quinn that home health care workers can't be compelled to financially support a union if they don't wish to join. Those health care workers weren't truly state employees, so the justices issued a more narrow ruling. The decision was still seen as a major blow to unions, which see the lawsuit as baseless and an attempt to diminish workers' rights.

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