January 4, 2013
Public school employees win (for now)
A judge in Wake County has thrown out a controversial bill passed by Republican state lawmakers over Governor Perdue’s veto in a surprise late-night vote one year ago. The law took away from all public school employees – from teachers to bus drivers and classified employees – their ability to have association dues deducted from their paychecks. After the vote, House Speaker Thom Tillis blamed members of the North Carolina Association of Educators in particular for his attacks on their rights.
NCAE sued to block the law, and, as the News & Observer reports, Superior Court Judge Paul Gessner “held that dues deduction law ‘is permanently enjoined because it constitutes retaliatory viewpoint discrimination’ in violation of the Free Speech Clause of the state Constitution.”
“We are extremely pleased with the court’s decision in this important case, especially the court’s recognition that our members have a constitutional right to express their views on issues important to the education community,” NCAE president Rodney Ellis said in a statement.
Teamsters Local 391, which represents many bus drivers, custodians, and cafeteria workers in North Carolina’s public schools said they, too, are pleased with the Judge’s ruling. “This was an important battle to protect the rights of our school members,” said Local 391 president Mike McGaha.
Now that a court has thrown out the law banning dues deduction for public school workers, it remains to be seen how our out-of-control state legislature will respond. Given that the Republican party, which pushed through the ban, will have an expanded majority and a Republican governor during the upcoming legislative session, this victory for workers could be short lived.
“We remain concerned about the agenda of the GOP and the attacks our school members will face during this upcoming legislative session,” said McGaha.
“The Teamsters Union will always fight to protect the rights of workers.” — Mike McGaha, Local 391 president
Click here to watch Speaker Tillis bemoan at a town hall last year a lack of “productive engagement” whilst himself engaging unproductively with NCAE: