California Educator

August / September 2018

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Page 47 of 71

A M O N T H B E F O R E the U.S. Supreme Court's June 27 Janus v. AFSCME decision, which struck a blow against public-sector unions, all 35,000 teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School Dis- trict found personally addressed notes concerning their union, United Teachers Los Angeles, with the subject line "UTLA's new 'irrevocable' membership card." e message had been sent on the district's computer messaging system. Sent by "Jami" on behalf of the stridently anti- union Freedom Foundation, the email warned of the "fine print" on UTLA's new "Janus-proofed" membership authorization form. "Be aware of UTLA's financial motivation before granting them the power to garnish your wages indefinitely," it cautioned before inviting recipients to "pay less" by becoming an agency fee payer. (Agency fees are non-dues moneys collected from all employees to cover the costs of union operations, including contract negotiations.) A second letter, sent by Amanda Burke of the Betsy DeVos-funded Mackinac Center for Public Policy, arrived in teachers' inboxes on the very day of the Janus ruling. "We don't necessarily believe that just because there are a considerable number of individuals who have not opted out of their union means that that is their express desire," said Mackinac's vice president of strategic outreach, Lindsay Killen. "So we want to make sure that we get them the infor- mation that they need." e emails are just part of the digital and door- to-door campaigns that anti-union groups have in store for California's government workers. Yet unions have been preparing for Janus for several Building Power Together In the wake of the Janus ruling, unions counter right-to-work campaigns aimed at California's public-sector workers By Bill Raden million for a Teacher Residency Grant Program. "We must do everything possible to attract the most qual- ified to our profession, and then support and retain them as they begin their career," says Heins. He also notes the increases in funding for special education, school safety, the state preschool program, and child care and health care for low-income families. Heins credits Gov. Jerry Brown for his leadership in help- ing pass Propositions 30 in 2012 and 55 in 2016, which laid the groundwork for the increased revenues leading to today 's surplus. He notes that even with these increases, however, Cali- fornia ranks 44th in the nation in per-pupil funding. "It's clear we still have more work to do to increase per-pupil funding, but we are now moving in the right direction." On June 27, in addition to signing off on the state budget, Brown signed SB 866, a trailer bill prohibiting government agencies such as school districts from publicly disclosing infor- mation about the site and time of new employee orientations. It also mandates that unions, not employers, collect forms work- ers use to join a union or cancel their membership, and that employers respect union preferences in collecting dues. Other language requires employers to negotiate with unions if they want to communicate with workers about their right to join or not join a union. The Legislature will recess in September. The swearing in of new legislators takes place in December, and the session resumes in January. $56.6 P r o p o s i t i o n 9 8 R e v e n u e 2 0 0 7 – 0 8 t o 2 018 –19 D o l l a r s i n B i l l i o n s 2007–08 $45 $50 $55 $60 $65 $70 $75 $80 2008–09 2009 –10 2010–11 2011–12 2012–13 2013–14 2014–15 2015–16 2016 –17 $49.2 $51.7 $49.7 $47.3 $58.0 $58.9 $67.1 $69.1 $71.4 2017–18 2018–19 $75.2 $78.4 Prop. 98 guarantees a minimum level of funding to be spent on K-14 education. The amount is determined by a formula that depends on student enrollment and such factors as growth in per capita personal income and state General Fund revenues. " We must do everything possible to attract the most qualified to our profession, and then support and retain them." —CTA President Eric Heins 46 Advocacy

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