The union calls them “service fees.” In practice, they amount to dues. And public school teachers are among those who believe that it is a distinction without a difference. On November 13, Thomas Few, a special education teacher in Los Angeles, filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against the United Teachers of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Unified School District challenging their tandem practice of deducting a large fee from salaries of teachers who remain employed but leave the union. In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31, Few had informed the union of his intent to resign, but was told that he would have to pay an annual “service fee” equivalent to monthly dues. The union, an affiliate of the state chapters of both the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, … Read More ➡
Juan Diaz de la Torre, until recently the head of the Mexican teachers union Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educacion (SNTE), may have done the impossible by creating nostalgia for his predecessor, Elba Esther Gordillo Morales. Late in October, a group of member teachers filed a criminal complaint against de la Torre, accusing him of embezzling millions of pesos. “There are thousands of teachers in the country who are in the dark because they don’t know what their money is being used for,” said spokesman Venancio Morales Zuniga. The SNTE countered with its own suit, claiming the charge is “totally false and devoid of reality.” But with pressure on him growing, de la Torre stepped down a month later. The main beneficiary of all this – perish the thought – may be Ms. Gordillo, released from house arrest in August. Her supporters, regrettably, include teachers.
Established in 1943, … Read More ➡
In Mexico, corruption is endemic to everyday life. That country’s affiliate of the worldwide nonprofit monitoring group, Transparency International, estimates that Mexicans in 2005 paid nearly $2 billion to public servants in more than 115 million acts of bribery. Organized labor fits very much into this scheme of things, and perhaps no more so than that country’s teachers union, National Union of Education Workers. Typically referred to by its Spanish-language acronym, SNTE (Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educacion), the 1.4 million-member labor organization for decades has represented a huge obstacle to school reform in Mexico – and, less directly, to immigration reform in the U.S.
Running this behemoth with an iron fist and a greased palm is one Elba Esther Gordillo Morales, a woman whose ability to strike fear into opponents has even current Mexican President Felipe Calderon walking softly. A new report written by College of William … Read More ➡