Friday, January 10, 2014

California Closed Shop, Closed Mind, 1st Left Behind? ,

cA lawsuit of far ranging implications was  filed in California, one of 26 closed shop states that require membership in a union in order to be employed by a company subject to a collective bargaining agreement.  The plaintiffs allege that being required by the California Teachers Association  join the union and incur about $1,000 per year in dues violates their First Amendment Rights as the union spends significant dollars on causes and candidates with which and whom they may disagree. The case is on its way to the 9th Circuit and in all likelihood to the Supreme Court. Given the contributions made to the Obama campaign by private and public employee unions in the millions, do not be surprised if Holder's Justice Department files an amicus curia brief in support of the CTA.
           The CTA as expected has complained that the lawsuit is merely an attempt to weaken the union and damage workers' rights. Whether one thinks unions are or are not in the workers' best interests (this writer firmly believes that when it comes to bargaining power for benefits and safety, unions  definitely level the playing field), the impact on our political process needs to be addressed. Simply put too much money is contributed to office holders, almost all but a very minor portion going to Democratic candidates) who either negotiate with the very same donors or determine the contents of the Education Code or the Propositions that Californians vote on. The ability to, as a legislator, what is best for California, given human nature, is a lost cause given the costs of running for and staying in office. We have too much money being spent on contributions, too many office holders whose only career is that of an office holder, and little or any ability of the ordinary non Pac citizen to have any involvement in the political process---no wonder voting participation is falling. If more and more people believe that their vote does not matter, what chance do we have to preserve this precious republic.
To Preserve 1st Amendment for Teachers 
At last a chance to take our democracy from the public unions back
Federal lawsuit filed against California teachers' union on track
$190 million a year to keep jobs in mandatory dues
Should be no wonder why the Blue influence grew
Unions are a great force when on economic and job issues they relate
Not to the threat of political process when they sate the politicians' plate
Mix the desire, Red or Blue, to turn "public service" into a career
And you have a recipe for our democracy that is so toxic it must be feared
All of us should support and wish the plaintiffs' luck
To the growing power over our political process pluck
Maybe there will be a brave soul, a member of the true 800 pound public union pig
Those overpaid guards wanting more prisons, more inmates to hold our elected officials in the contributions brig.

© January 10, 2014 Michael P. Ridley aka the Alaskanpoet


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