Here’s hoping all Colorado teachers union branches care enough to arm their receptionists with information on their members’ automatic political contributions. It would be a small tip of the hat to customer service to stop taking member funds for granted in this way.
On two different dates in September, a couple of young people volunteered for the Independence Institute by calling around to the offices of various local Colorado Education Association (CEA) affiliates. They wanted to know if some union dues went to support political candidates and other campaigns. Many, many hard-working teachers understandably don’t have a clear sense of how it all works.
For years now CEA has operated the Every Member Option, or EMO, to fund state and local political campaigns. Our Independent Teachers website explains the process — a $39 annual refund available from CEA and a separate refund worth up to $24 from various locals. A teacher may have to write two letters to two different offices by two different deadlines to exercise their “voluntary” option.
Many of the union offices Kait and Bob called provided generally accurate information about how dues are used for politics, how much is taken from each member, and how to obtain a refund. It’s not surprising that no one volunteered the information about teacher member dues funding false and malicious 527 political ads. And almost no one who took the question by phone knew the exact amount of CEA’s refund, but you can hardly blame the individuals at the local union for failing to know every pertinent detail about the state union’s political program. continue…