The California Teachers Empowerment Network
When it comes to teachers unions and collective bargaining, California is what is known as "an agency-fee state."
What this means for public school teachers is that if a union represents the teachers of a given district in negotiations with their employer for salaries and benefits, then all teachers must financially support that union.
This is true regardless of how individual teachers feel about unionism, the leadership of the national organization that purports to represent them, the union's political beliefs, candidate endorsements, and politically-related expenditures, or the effectiveness and practices of their local association.
Individuals not wishing to join the union are entitled to a partial refund of the amount witheld from their paychecks, but the union determines what is returned, keeping what it considers to be an individual worker's "fair share" of the overall costs of negotiating the collective bargaining agreement.
In our California school district, the "fair share" ends-up being about 80% of our $910 yearly dues.
A group of interested California teachers have now formed The California Teachers Empowerment Network (CTEM) in order to share information regarding teachers and union-related activities. From their homepage:
We at California Teachers Empowerment Network are teachers, just like you. As fellow educators we value and respect you and the work you do. This organization, CTEN for short, is a non-partisan, non-political group dedicated to providing teachers with reliable and balanced information about professional affiliations and positions on educational issues. We believe that advocating for open dialogue and informed choices will empower all of us to experience greater satisfaction and success in our profession.What has always bothered me about our local teachers association here in California's "Imperial" Valley are the rigged elections and lack of any oversight in how our dues-money is spent.