Press Conference Rebroadcast time: 1:00 p.m. and 1:30 p.m., Satellite: IA 6 (formerly Telstar 6),
Transponder: C-13 (C-band space), Audio: 6.2 and 6.8, Downlink Frequency: 3960 Vertical
San Jose, California (September 28, 2005) – A group of California teachers and university professors today asked the U.S. District Court to issue a temporary restraining order and to schedule a hearing for a preliminary injunction to prevent two large statewide teacher unions from spending a mandatory dues increase without due process in order to influence the upcoming special election. At a dramatic press conference in Sacramento last Thursday, the teachers and professors announced their First Amendment class action lawsuit challenging forced dues increases levied against more than 350,000 teachers and professors statewide. More than 100 screaming union militants filed out of union political headquarters buildings and encircled the press conference to drown out and intimidate the classroom teachers who were speaking to the media about their allegations against the union hierarchy. The suit, filed with the free legal assistance of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, challenges the use of a $60-per-teacher mandatory dues increase imposed by California Teacher Association (CTA) officials and a 10 percent mandatory dues increase imposed by California Faculty Association (CFA) officials that are earmarked for efforts to defeat Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s propositions on the ballot on November 8th. Foundation attorneys argue that an injunction is necessary because only swift action can prevent the irreparable infringement of the teachers’ constitutional rights. The results of an election cannot be undone. Since September 1, CTA officials have written checks to several campaign committees totaling $23 million from a loan that is secured by guarantees of higher compulsory dues paid by educators as a job condition. Earlier in the summer, CTA officials announced another $22 million in expenditures. The CTA’s first deduction of the forced dues increase is scheduled to occur on September 30 at which time most teachers will first learn of the dues increase. Like many public servants, the six named plaintiffs object to paying for union political activities with which they disagree. They seek an order certifying their suit as a class action for all CTA members and nonmembers and all CFA nonmembers. The educators seek to block the further use of the special dues increase until every teacher and professor is given full disclosure of the union’s expenditures and notice of their right to object and obtain a refund. The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge James Ware. “Union officials seem to think rank-and-file educators are there to serve as the union’s ATM machine to finance its political agenda,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the Foundation. The suit relies on the rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court, including the Foundation-won Chicago Teachers Union v. Hudson (1986). In Hudson, the high court ruled that all “potential objectors” to forced union dues assessments have due process rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to be notified of how their forced union dues are spent and to be given an opportunity to prevent the spending of their dues for non-collective bargaining purposes.