Hoping you can join me for Zooming with the Dawg on Friday. We start these gatherings with a few suggestions that have nothing to do with the law. We’ve covered books to read, TV shows to watch, podcasts to listen to, fun things to do in the summer. This week: while we are restricted by Covid, what are you missing the most? Let’s leave out people—we know you miss your friends and family. Let’s talk about activities, stuff, conveniences…things like that.
As for the legal stuff, let’s open this week with a few thoughts about the latest AG Opinion regarding payroll deductions. The background on this is the SCOTUS decision last year that held that teacher unions could not force non-members to pay a fee to the union. This is a common practice in states that have genuine teacher unions. We don’t have genuine teacher unions, but as you have probably heard, other states do. Texas educators join “associations” which should not be equated with a union. A union is an organization that has power. If Texas teacher associations had the same kind of power that unions have Texas teachers would not be signing contracts agreeing to work for the district at a rate of pay that the board will decide on later. What other professional person does that?
Some Texas politicians contend that we do have teacher unions and that these evil, radical leftwing, Marxist organizations do nothing but protect bad teachers and block meaningful educational reforms. Teacher unions make for a good punching bag for politicians who lean to the right.
The AG’s Opinion (KP-310) simply reminds us of the Supreme Court’s ruling about forced payment of dues to an organization you don’t want to join. That’s never been the practice in Texas. Payroll deductions happen only when teachers instruct the district to do so. Teachers give written consent. The AG suggests that it would be a good idea for districts to get this authorization yearly. Well, of course you can do that, but the statute does say that an authorization by the teacher is good until it is revoked (T.E.C. 22.001(b).
We will discuss this AG Opinion and other issues involving Texas teacher associations on “Zooming with the Dawg” on Friday at 10. Our discussion will be enlivened by two lawyers who have extensive experience with teacher associations. My law partner, Joey Moore, served as General Counsel for the Texas State Teachers’ Association for many years before joining our firm. And Jefferson “Jay” Brim has represented members of the Association of Texas Professional Educators from the time that organization was formed.
Hope you can join us on Friday.
DAWG BONE: POWER IS THE ABILITY TO GET EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT WITHOUT FORCE, MANIPULATION OR DECEIT. UNIONS THAT CAN COLLECTIVELY BARGAIN HAVE POWER. TEACHERS’ ORGANIZATIONS IN TEXAS DON’T.
Tomorrow: Toolbox Tuesday!!