SCOTUS union decision affects teachers at CVHS

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled in June that government labor unions cannot force their members to pay dues in a blow to unions across the United States. Teachers’ unions across the nation could be weakened by the decision as teachers could opt out of paying dues.

The ruling on Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees came after teacher strikes rocked states without union protections earlier in the year.

Castro Valley Teachers Association (CVTA) is the group that bargains collectively with the school district on behalf of the teachers. Members help determine the terms of teachers’ contracts, including pay, benefits, and hours.

CVTA has historically been a strong union for Castro Valley teachers, bargaining for better terms than many other districts, and despite the decision, union leaders expect it to continue to maintain its strength.

“People here take a lot of pride in what CVTA has done, so I’m not too concerned about the membership with CVTA being affected by the ruling,” said CVTA Vice President Ian Rodriquez. He also said that no teachers have yet opted out of paying dues, though that could change as new staff are added.

The effects of weakened unions could be on the minds of new teachers, which could keep unionization rates high high among teachers in Castro Valley.

“A lot of people who join the profession have seen what happens in states where they do not have the right to collectively bargain, where they have seen teachers unions become incredibly weakened,” Rodriquez said.

CVTA President Mark Mladinich also thinks that unionization rates in Castro Valley are not in danger of falling. “My strong suspicion is that people will recognize the good work we do as a collective unit, and they will stay with their union,” he said.

This positive outlook for the CVTA is not, however, shared with the California Teachers Association (CTA), whose finances could be squeezed if many teachers across California choose not to pay union dues. CTA spends its its money to support propositions and candidates for state offices on behalf of the interest of California teachers.

The weakening of the CTA is concerning to Rodriquez, but he is not worried about Castro Valley.

“On the local level, advocating for students and teachers at our site, I don’t see a fundamental shift at this time,” he said. Mladinich agreed, saying that everyone is benefited by union membership.

“My hope is that people recognize that the bargaining team, and CVTA leadership and everybody in the union are stronger when we are united,” Mladinich  said.

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