Teachers Unions Win
This spring, two court cases that might have reined in some of the power of teachers unions failed to do so. When Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died unexpectedly, the Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association case was destined to fail. On March 29, 2016, the Supreme Court ruled: “The judgment is affirmed by an equally divided Court.” Since there was no majority on either side, the case was essentially sent back down to lower courts and nothing changed. (SCOTUSblog.com, 3-29-16)
Mrs. Friedrichs and the other plaintiff California teachers hoped to stop being forced to pay union fees that support political candidates and stances with which they don’t agree. Teachers may not be any more liberal than the general population, but teachers unions lean far left, support radical ideas, align with radical organizations, and almost exclusively offer financial support to Democrat candidates for office and to leftist causes. Although the California Teachers Association (CTA) claims to be bipartisan, in California’s 2014 political races, the CTA union supported 100 Democrats, and two Republicans. (Orange County Register, 10-28-14)
A separate case also resulted in supporting teachers unions. In a 2014 decision, a California judge ruled in Vergara v. California, a case brought by nine high school students, that reliance on tenure and seniority deprives students of a quality education. Five California tenure and seniority statutes were struck down by that judge who ruled that teachers union tenure and seniority are concepts that allow teachers to remain in classrooms regardless of performance and to hold a position that might be better given to a different teacher doing a better job of educating students.
But on April 14, 2016, a three-judge panel stuck down the previous decision.
Vergara is expected to be appealed to the California Supreme Court. Representatives of the student plaintiffs say that “the mountain of evidence we put on at trial proved — beyond any reasonable dispute — that the irrational, arbitrary and abominable laws at issue in this case shackle school districts and impose severe and irreparable harm on students.”