The North Carolina Teachers Union Gets Schooled

In the wee hours of Thursday morning, Republicans in the North Carolina General Assembly successfully overrode Governor Bev “Let’s-Just-Skip-Elections” Perdue’s veto of a bill prohibiting the North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE) from using the state to collect the due payments the Democratic Party and teachers union have called foul.  Gov. Perdue said, “The Republicans in the General Assembly didn’t have the votes to get what they wanted legally. So, in the dark of night, they engaged in an unprecedented, unconstitutional power grab.” Of course, they did have the votes (the state constitution requiring 2/3 of both chambers to override a veto), and such action is hardly unprecedented (look at last year’s Congress to see just how productive Democrats can be in the middle of the night).

The NCAE occupies a funny place in North Carolina politics. Because North Carolina is a Right to Work state, the union is fairly small (especially when compared to its affiliates in Wisconsin and New Jersey), but they have been quite active lately. They vigorously opposed the budget passed out of the General Assembly and were quite involved in the recent elections for the Wake County School Board and the debate surrounding neighborhood schools.

In light of the NCAE’s political activities, it’s worth asking whether the state should act as a dues collector for the group. Considering that there are likely many taxpayers not associated with the NCAE who would object to many of the group’s activities and political positions, it’s worth considering what benefits the NCAE provides.  The state would then be obligated to be the union’s bill collector.

Indeed, the situation is quite curious.  The teachers union has promised to sue, claiming that the law somehow targets or singles out the group for punitive treatment. Yet, one is tempted to ask why the group feels so entitled to such privileged treatment. There are many groups and organizations across the state, from the Boy Scouts to the Knights of Columbus, that do not have access to the state’s payroll system for dues collection.  Rather than targeting the group for special treatment, the law actually puts the union on an equal standing with every other group in the state.  Some groups, such as the United Way, and the state affiliate of the SEIU, still have access to the payroll system, but these groups are the exception rather than the rule. So instead of arguing that they have an inherent right to automatic dues deductions, a more logical argument would push for other groups to not be allowed to access the state payroll system. Ultimately, this would be the most “fair” outcome for everyone involved.  Why should state resources be devoted to furthering the ends of private groups?  While automatic dues and donation deductions are convenient for the groups receiving the money, what is the benefit to the state?  Especially in the era of online bill pay, there’s really no need for the state to be involved in these transactions.  Why is North Carolina (along with many other states and their respective unions) involved with organizations like the NCAE at all?

Instead of recognizing that an overly generous special perk courtesy of the state has now come to an end, the NCAE is taking to the streets to demand the return of what is “rightfully” theirs. Instead of demanding that the state act as their personal dues collector, the union should recognize that very few other groups have this privilege and should not waste the state’s time and resources with ridiculous complaints.

Marc Seelinger Jr. // University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill // Chapel Hill, North Carolina // @marcseelinger



  1. Kelly Kafir says:

    I think the unions oppose this because they know that once people look at how much they are paying and how much the union takes from their paychecks, they will start to question what is being done with the money and start making demands on the unions! WA state governor candidate Shahram Hadian proposes the same thing AND he wants to tax the unions… Rob McKenna is in cahoots with the unions and said he “won’t terrorize the unions like Gov Scott did”… TERRORIZE??? little strong there Robby!

  2. Did your government teachers educate you about Franklin D. Roosevelt’s political goals? Mine didn’t either (and I’m 70 years old).

    They told me how FDR hired millions of federal workers during the Great Depression and about winning WW2. They also told me about the gruesome slaughter of Indians and how the rich elite Founders owned slaves; about American imperialism and America being the only nation to drop nukes. They told me how the USSR was trying to create a better society for all people; about how rich Mellon, Carnegie and Ford were — and how poor the people of Appalachia were. But they never told me about FDR’s political goals, even though Lesson Number One should have been his own words:
    1/11/44 FDR’s address to Congress:
    “We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all—regardless of station, race, or creed.
    Among these are”:
    The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;
    The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
    The right of every family to a decent home;
    The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
    The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

    You didn’t know that FDR was a socialist? Neither did I! I learned about that on the Internet a few years ago. Perhaps our government teachers were too busy assiduously teaching us about America’s crimes against humanity? Or maybe government teachers are willfully “dumbing us down” so we’ll be more compliant under the autocratic rule of socialist elites like Obama, Pelosi and Reid? The 43% of us who pay no federal income tax and get welfare benefits are most probably in that “dumbed down” group:
    -4/15/09 CBS News: “An astonishing 43.4 percent of Americans now pay zero or negative federal income taxes. The number of single or jointly-filing “taxpayers” – the word must be applied sparingly – who pay no taxes or receive government handouts has reached 65.6 million, out of a total of 151 million.”

    And we are, in fact, are being “dumbed down”:

    -12/7/07 Washington Post: “The scores from the 2006 Program for International Student Assessment showed that U.S. 15-year-olds trailed their peers from many industrialized countries. The average science score of U.S. students lagged behind those in 16 of 30 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a Paris-based group that represents the world’s richest countries. The U.S. students were further behind in math, trailing counterparts in 23 countries.”-
    -3/9/11 AP: An estimated 82 percent of U.S. schools could be labeled as “failing” under the nation’s No Child Left Behind Act this year, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Wednesday. “We should get out of the business of labeling schools as failures and create a new law that is fair and flexible, and focused on the schools and students most at risk,” Duncan said. [Translation: lower standards…again: the guiding light of our “education” system]

    Government teachers know very well that they are failing our children, which is why they save their own children:
    -12/15/10 Chicago Tribune: “As recently as 2004, a Thomas B. Fordham Institute study found that 39 percent of CPS teachers sent their own kids to private schools.

    They also know that the Democrat Party receives 95% of their union’s (National Education Association) political contributions which promotes FDR’s socialist agenda. They know that the text books they use are riddled with ridicule and lies about capitalism and Judao-Christian culture while they are full of sensitive praise and respect for all other cultures, in the name of Multiculturalism, the god all socialists worship before. They defend themselves with, “I love America and I teach my kids to love America!” sounding like the smiley Muslim who says, “I’m don’t support Muslim extremists,” and then go about their merry way with the full knowledge that their leaders trash our culture and pave the way for the America’s destruction.

    We owe gratitude to Obama for two things: killing Bin Laden and illustrating what destruction a socialist can impose on a nation of a once more prosperous people. But government teachers deserve our contempt. They’ve been dedicated, for decades, to keeping from us the knowledge of FDR’s agenda — the Democrats agenda — for a socialist America. That agenda necessarily requires the removal of one giant obstacle — the Constitution. In my mind that’s almost treasonous — but then, I’m an old guy with a sense of patriotism, a concept virtually unknown to Democrats, socialists — and most teachers.

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