California Teacher Stands Up to Unions

For many teachers, their job is a calling. It is what they love to do, a profession for which they have worked and studied, and at which they want to continue. What happens, then, when a good teacher is forced to give money to a group which she opposes in order to keep her job? In the case of California’s Rebecca Friedrichs, she is fighting back. 

Freidrichs has been a teacher for 26 years and, during that time, has had $1,000 removed from her paycheck each year (as a condition of her employment) to cover dues to a union she does not support.  In October, she wrote of this issue.

My students and I begin each morning reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. We proudly salute the banner of our great nation because we believe in “liberty and justice for all.” A disturbing truth haunts me during each pledge, however. Laws that favor unions over the needs of many students and teachers are robbing us of our promised “liberty and justice.”

On First Amendment grounds, she is now the lead plaintiff in Friedrichs vs. California Teachers Association, which is headed to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

“Since my first years of teaching, I’ve been bothered by the fact that a large portion of my mandatory dues goes to pay for political endeavors of a union whose political positions have nothing to do with my job and have nothing to do with improving education for me, for my students, or for their parents,” Friedrichs told the National Review. “In fact, often these policies have negative effects.”

The negative effects of teachers unions have been widely reported, as have the deficiencies in California’s schools in particular, but there are those who still remain faithful to the union over all. 

In America, so many unions have now come to embody the coercion they were created to stop. They are the big, powerful overlords taking money from workers and forcing them to work against their own beliefs and, in many cases, their own interests. Good job, Ms. Friedrichs, for fighting back, putting your students and your beliefs before job security. We will be watching this case with great interest.