Tuesday, May 09, 2006

More CTA Non-Democracy

The California Teachers Association, which is one of three organizations that I'm forced to financially support even if I formally resign from them, has decided to endorse Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides' bid to win his party's June primary and then take on incumbent Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in November's election.

And now we've learned that CTA is helping pay the costs of Angelides' TV advertising effort.

It would have been nice if the leadership of the CTA had bothered to poll us rank-and-file dues payers about our gubernatorial preferences before giving the union's endorsement or spending our dues money on what may very well be a quixotic attempt to overthrow Schwarzenegger. (Who is not one of our favorite politicos right now, as he has done nothing to curb the runaway growth of California's already huge multi-layered EduCracy.)

In this era of electronic voting and survey-taking, there's no reasonable reason why this can't be done. And as the CTA loudly proclaims itself as a democratic organization, (while picking my pocket through the withholding of dues from each and every monthly paycheck) it really ought to be done.

But CTA has never felt the need to actually ask the rank-and-file their opinions about anything before, so why expect anything different now? I've grown to count on this sort of high-handed, old-fashioned type of authoritarian "we'll do the thinking for you so you don't have to," union governance from the likes of CTA's never-elected-by-the-rank-and-file-President Barbara Kerr.

What types of unions do I like? I both like and admire those organizations that truthfully seek and encourage the active participation of their rank-and-file in the decision-making process and have fair, transparent, and contested elections for their national officers. Some examples of these participatory-democratic unions are: Actors Equity, The Professional Baseball Players Association, The Screen Actors Guild, and several of the Airline Pilots Associations.
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