February 6, 2007 7:34PM

Three Cheers for Workers’ Rights

This year has seen a lot of attention paid to teachers unions, with the Supreme Court taking up the appeal from an outrageous Washington State Supreme Court decision that gutted the First Amendment rights of teachers and gave new “rights” to unions.

But battles are being fought all over the country. There have been union revolts in Washington, California, and Iowa, and the latest comes from Illinois, where the Century Education Association (CEA), representing Century School District in Ullin, IL, voted to sever their ties with the state and national union and become “local only.” And this official step comes after they were apparently harassed and lied to by their supposed representatives:

“We really felt that the IEA and the NEA were not organizations out to represent the best interests of teachers,” said Debra Goins, President of the CEA and a teacher at Century Elementary School. “We all felt we should have the right to choose to affiliate or not, without being harassed, bullied, lied to and intimidated.”

The Association of American Educators (the largest national, non‐​union, professional educators’ association) will step in to provide the benefits of a national without the burdens and baggage that come with NEA affiliation.

Keep an eye on Davenport v. Washington Education Association (WEA) and Washington v. WEA, which should be decided in June. The Washington court accepted the bizarre union argument that requiring the union to get permission from non‐​union‐​members before using their mandatory dues to engage in express advocacy for or against state or local candidates or initiatives is a violation of the union’s First Amendment rights. I think this is known as uber‐​chutzpah.

Friends of the First Amendment should hope the court will issue a broad ruling curtailing union tyranny. And that more union locals will demand to be treated like professionals rather than the political pawns of union bosses.