Local Feature

In the Dead of the Night: How NC Republicans Used Deception to Hurt Our Teachers

At 1:17 a.m., in what Governor Perdue called an “unprecedented, unconstitutional power grab,” House Republicans used a surprise, late-night congressional session to override Perdue’s veto of SB727, which stops the North Carolina Association of Educators from collecting dues from teachers’ paychecks via payroll deduction.

Not surprisingly, the NCAE has been vocal in our state against the Republican education cuts in the last two years that have ravaged a once great school system that dropped our state to 49th in the nation in per pupil funding.    The Republicans are trying to punish NCAE for speaking out against the NC GOP assault on schools, and as noted by the Associated Press, the GOP has done little to refute arguments that the vetoed bill was designed as punishment.  Other state employees will still be able to have automatic deductions to their professional organizations (like the Public Service Workers Union and the State Employees Association of North Carolina);  “the fact that it picks and chooses one group out of many is a blatant violation of due process,” said Rep. Rick Glazier, D-Cumberland.   It’s not by chance that just the NCAE was singled out: the committee actively rejected a change that also would have cut off payroll deductions for all other employee associations including three unions — the State Employees Association of North Carolina, the Teamsters, and the Public Service Worker’s Union.

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WRITTEN BY: SAM SPENCER, Young Democrats of North Carolina President

Friends –

Just after 1 a.m. this morning, the Republicans in the North Carolina House pulled off another legislative coup in the dead of night.While Democratic Representative Larry Womble was in critical but stable condition after a tragic accident; and after Representative William Wainwright had to excuse himself due to a serious illness; Speaker Thom Tillis and the House Republicans held a session that was at best incredibly immoral and at worst unconstitutional.

The Republicans made a deal with Democrats earlier in the day, and subsequently broke the deal when they decided to exceed the scope of yesterday’s session. They passed a bill that had already been vetoed and defeated by calling a surprise legislative session that had not been announced to the public.

Republicans lacked the votes to override the veto legitimately, but by early this morning they were able to override Governor Perdue’s veto for the sake of nothing more than political payback. Speaker Tillis said earlier this year that Republicans were pushing this bill to attack the North Carolina Association of Educators because “[we] just want to give them a little taste about what’s to come.” They even had the gall to ask members to pray for Rep. Womble – who is currently in intensive care in Winston-Salem – while blatantly exploiting his absence.

Last year, Speaker Tillis said that “[Republicans] are living up to their commitment to be more transparent.” Unfortunately, this week’s actions speak for themselves: surprise midnight votes are a far cry from “transparency.” Even worse, the multiple recesses and the unnecessary day cost North Carolina up to $55,000; all the while, Representatives were watching football on the taxpayer dime until it got late enough to vote.

National Committeewoman Montica Talmadge and other YDNC members were there in Raleigh, standing up for those of us who couldn’t make it. While Speaker Tillis still believesthat teachers “don’t care about kids” and “don’t care about classrooms,” Montica reports that “Rep. Rick Glazier led the charge for teachers and gave an eloquent explanation of the unconstitutionality of the whole session.”She couldn’t be more right. When you consider midnight sessions, redistricting, attempts to change our voting laws, and many other bills proposed and passed over the past year, the real unconstitutionality becomes clear: Democrats are losing equal protection of the laws in North Carolina.

Today’s cloak-and-dagger actions are a new low for this General Assembly. Please take action today:

  • Contact Speaker Tillis and ask that he apologize for this farce of a session.
  • Forward this e-mail to your friends and share it on Facebook & Twitter so that they know what the Republicans did.
  • Contribute to our fight to empower young people across the state to fight the radical Republican agenda.
The Cause Endures,Sam Spencer
President, Young Democrats of North Carolina

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4 thoughts on “In the Dead of the Night: How NC Republicans Used Deception to Hurt Our Teachers

  1. “the fact that it picks and chooses one group out of many is a blatant violation of due process,” said Rep. Rick Glazier, D-Cumberland.

    I agree that this is flawed, it should apply to all public unions. All workers should have the right to choose whither to pay dues to a union or not and how to pay that dues.

    Still not sure how this hurts teachers though. Could you clarify how this hurts teachers?

  2. Hi FLPatriot!

    The NCAE plays an important role in fighting to make sure our state has the educational resources it needs, fighting against budget cuts, and make sure teachers (who understand classrooms best) have a seat at the table in education reform. Some of their 2010 legislative successes are explained here:http://www.ncae.org/Images/Users/6/NCAELegislativeWin10crp.pdf

    I can understand the perspective that dues for organizations should be voluntary, but I think there’s a good argument against having them be voluntary
    I don’t know where you fall on big/small government, but imagine in your head some number that you think would be needed from each person to make sure our country had the services you think are vital (like stoplights, police officers, and so on). Would you want to make paying those taxes voluntary? Probably not–when there is a good that benefits a lot of people equally, too many people would be tempted to “free load” off of the people who do pay in.
    NCAE helps protect all teachers, and all teachers will suffer without the voice that NCAE provides.
    That’s my two cents!

    -Elena

  3. To play devil’s advocate – paying taxes for government services seems dramatically different from automatic payroll deductions for union dues… Beyond that, this does not keep teachers from joining NCAE nor from paying dues; it blocks a convenient way of doing so.

    That’s where my hypothetical advocacy ends, though, because certainly the process by which this happened and the singular focus on the NCAE – with the active exclusion of other unions – for this…action…falls well outside that for which I am able to even hypothetically advocate 🙂

  4. I see where you’re coming from Dr. G. If the overwhelming majority of the employees of your company would like the dues to their professional organization to be paid via payroll deduction, it seems discourteous to not offer them a box to check at least. If I were in the NCGA, I would probably vote in favor of legislation that allowed you to either opt-in or opt-out to automatic payroll deduction (assuming this change happened to all state employees at the same time as opposed to happening to only the organization that a particular political party has a beef with).

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