News

Teachers union volunteers marching to Sacramento

Group draws support in 2nd week of effort to attract more publilc attention to plight of schools

Nearly two weeks into a seven-week march from Bakersfield to Sacramento to advocate for reinvestment in public education and other services, an event spokesman said that despite some blisters and sprained ankles, the walk has "been incredible so far."

The walk, "March for California's Future," began in Bakersfield on March 5 and will end in Sacramento on April 21. It is sponsored by the California Federation of Teachers, which has partnered with a diverse group of organizations representing the faith community, public safety sector, health services, and public education.

The seven core marchers, two of whom are from the Bay Area--Jenn Laskin, a Watsonville K-12 teacher, and Anna Graves, a retired Berkeley adult education teacher--have been walking eight to 16 miles per day and staying in campgrounds, churches and RV parks.

The marchers have been joined by thousands of supporters along the way, including some who the marchers were surprised to see.

"There's tremendous energy," said event spokesman Steve Hopcraft.

In a phone interview Tuesday, Laskin said while the group was marching from Shafter to Wasco just outside Bakersfield, they were confronted by a woman who pulled over in her car and stopped the entire procession of marchers.

The woman told the group she was a retired teacher of eight years and, though conservative, said she supported what the marchers were doing.

She said her own services have been deteriorating and her social security has been cut. She then handed the group $15 and said, "This is what I can give you," according to Laskin.

Laskin said it was the first time the group received any money from a supporter on the march.

"We were really touched," Laskin said.

She said they haven't encountered any opposition yet on the march, though one man complained about traffic problems near the march.

The march started a day after California's "Day of Action," in which demonstrations were held throughout the state in protest of budget cuts to public education.

Laura Dudnick, Bay City News

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Kari
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 18, 2010 at 8:36 am

"Reinvestment" = tax hike. These pensions and benefits are UNSUSTAINABLE! We need to scrap the whole system and start over.


Like this comment
Posted by Terry
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Mar 18, 2010 at 9:42 am


With public policy from Sacramento and Washington, I do not see the economy growing to allow money for schools. It will be necessary to do education with less resources and funds. A tough realty to consider when we have been use to money and and more money.

We need to elect leaders that have an understanding of economics and, maybe, know how to run a Hotdog stand and meet a payroll.

Do you really want a re-cycled professional politician as your leader?


Like this comment
Posted by Legal?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 18, 2010 at 10:44 am

Perhaps they would like to raise awareness about how the union is hurting the kids and teachers. This thread started by a teacher talks about how unions force teachers to either become members of the union and pay dues to the union or have money automatically deducted from their paycheck to donate to a union-approved entity:

Web Link

It seems illegal (but it is not apparently since there is a bill about it) to force teachers to pay dues even if they don't want to belong to the union.

I am not saying education funding is not an issue: it is and a big one, but the unions are a big problem too, and people should be aware of it.

Unions force teachers to belong to the union, and if the teachers opt out of union membership, they are forced to pay fees anyway, and to give them to a union-approved entity. This is all done with the protection of a bill. This is wrong and people should know about it.


Like this comment
Posted by Brandon
a resident of another community
on Mar 18, 2010 at 12:43 pm

Here are the facts:

1. Even if California were to switch to a two-tiered pension system tomorrow (which would gut pensions for new teachers), any savings would not be realized until decades later. Even then, it would not balance the budget, and would do nothing to help with the current financial crisis.
2. Teachers do not get Social Security, so their pensions are all they have to rely on when they retire. The typical government worker gets less than $30,000 a year in retirement benefits. In an expensive state like California, that's not much. The abuses you read about -- public employees getting $100,000 a year benefits -- are abuses by managers who do not belong to unions, not rank-and-file workers.
3. It is correct that the marchers support a fair and equitable tax system to invest in California's future. But the marchers are pushing to eliminate tax cuts for the wealthy and tax loopholes for large corporations that have been enacted in the last 20 years. We can raise enough revenue for California without raising taxes on the middle class by simply returning to the tax rates that were in place when Republican Pete Wilson was in office. We should be closing tax loopholes, not schools.
4. The cause of the fiscal crisis is not spending, but poor decisions by legislators in Sacramento. Studies show that California ranks near the bottom nationally in education spending, and has fewer state workers in proportion to its population than all but two states.
5. Teachers are proud union members because they want the power to push for changes to fix our broken education system. Teachers are the solution, not the enemy. Baseless attacks on hardworking teachers do nothing to help students.


Like this comment
Posted by Legal?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 18, 2010 at 4:28 pm

"5. Teachers are proud union members because they want the power to push for changes to fix our broken education system. Teachers are the solution, not the enemy. Baseless attacks on hardworking teachers do nothing to help students."

If the teachers are so proud of the union, why does the union FORCE them to either pay union fees and join or pay the same amount to a union-approved entity?

You may want to read the "why I joined the union" thread. Not all teachers are happy having to join the unions. And again, if unions are so great, why do they have to get Sacramento to pass regulations to FORCE teachers to join the union or be subject to money being taken from their checks? Unions are simply evil and do not have the interest of anyone but themselves in mind.


Like this comment
Posted by Suspicious
a resident of Downtown
on Mar 19, 2010 at 8:00 pm

@Legal
It seems suspicious that the poster of "Why I joined the union" is even a teacher. Probably a plant from someone like you who hates and wants to bash unions. Why shouldn't a person who doesn't want to join the union still pay the amount that everyone else pays? It goes to a charity. After all, I'm sure they won't turn down any salary increases or improvements to working conditions the teachers' association negotiates for them. No one is forcing teachers to become an APT member, but yes, they are forced to pay the same amount to a charity as APT members pay in dues. Why should they get something for free?


Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 19, 2010 at 9:04 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Who cares who started that thread?

It would be unfair to the union to bargain for the non-union member of the monopoly bargaining unit without being paid for the service as it would be equally unfair to the employee to have their money taken for purposes other than representation related to their employment. Why should someone's money be taken from them for union activity unrelated to the relationship between the employee and the employer?


Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 19, 2010 at 9:05 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Why should the union get extra money for free?


Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 19, 2010 at 9:07 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

The amount paid by union members in union dues is typically above and beyond what is necessary to provide the services related to the employment relationship (contract administration, negotiation, etc.). So a non-union member's agency fee should typically be less than the dues.


Like this comment
Posted by Suspicious
a resident of Downtown
on Mar 20, 2010 at 9:38 am

If I was a teacher and chose to belong to the union, I would want the non member to pay the same amount as me. After all they have the same salary and working conditions as everyone else. I believe members and non members have the ability to opt out of any money going to political reasons such as backing certain candidates. Anyone know if this is true?


Like this comment
Posted by Legal?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 20, 2010 at 10:54 am

No, I did not start the "why I join the union" thread.

If teachers do not want to belong to the union, they should not have to pay, to a union or union-approved charity. That is not right. They should also at that point be given the flexibility to negotiate their own contracts rather than being bound by whatever collective bargaining the union comes up with.


Like this comment
Posted by Suspicious
a resident of Downtown
on Mar 21, 2010 at 3:02 pm

I asked a friend of mine who is a teacher about how many teachers are non members in PUSD. I was told there are probably about 25 who pay their dues to a charity. Why would these 25 people want to negotiate their own contract? What leverage would they even have? I would think they would be better off getting whatever the association negotiated for them.

Who is to say they can't negotiate for themselves? Have these non members even looked into it?


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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