Checking out of the Hotel California

A California teachers’ union leader thinks membership will become voluntary — and is OK with that — writes Larry Sand in Checking Out of the Hotel California.

Intercepts has posted “declassified” California Teachers Association strategy documents. Doug Tuthill, a former union leader, urges the CTA to prepare for the courts to invalidate “fair share,” mandatory dues for all teachers, in Not if, but when: Living in a world without Fair Share.

Tuthill suggests ways to persuade teachers that it’s in their interest to join the union, notes Sand. Teachers could adopt the model of the “two most effective unions” in the U.S.,  the National Rifle Association and the AARP.

Unlike today’s teachers unions, the NRA and AARP do not require their members to be part of a centralized bureaucracy. Their members are united by common values and interests, not by location. An NRA-AARP type teachers union would be able to advocate for teachers working in a variety of settings, including museums, libraries, district schools, virtual schools, art galleries, charter schools, homeschools, tutoring businesses, private schools, YWCAs, and Boys and Girls Clubs. The work setting would be irrelevant, just as where NRA and AARP members work — or where American Bar Association lawyers and American Medical Association doctors work — is irrelevant.

A former classroom teacher, Sand is president of the California Teachers Empowerment Network. 

About Joanne


  1. Do you really want me to stay a member if the law changes?

    Then stop being an arm of the Democratic party and a supporter of every Left wing kook to come along.

  2. I think they are confused about a union vs a lobbying group. It says something that they picked their two model “unions” and those are actually lobbying groups. It tells you what their focus really has been.

  3. Michael E. Lopez says:

    When a union represents primarily public employees, then any sort of negotiations are going to be inherently political.

    That means that a public employee union *is* a lobbying group; that’s what they are first and foremost.

    (You’re absolutely right, Paul, that this discussion reveals quite a bit about the mindset of the union. I just want to point out that it’s not a crazy mindset.)