AB 2577:  California Public Employee Unions seek taxpayers funding



By Stephen Frank and Larry Sand 

(Editor’s Note: The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Wednesday in favor of Mark Janus in his case v. the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees.)

The 5-4 Supreme Court ruling against mandatory public union membership—requiring agency fees of non-members—means that large unions such as the California Teachers Association (CTA) need to find another way to replace union money which for CTA is estimated to be as much as $23 million dollars.  One such way is AB 2577 which will require taxpayers to subsidize unions and in effect finance their political activities.  This bill has already passed the California State Assembly.

AB 2577 allows a deduction for “an amount equal to the amount paid or incurred during the taxable year” by a taxpayer for member dues to a labor organization. The Pacific Research Institute reports this means that “Californians, in effect, will collectively subsidize union dues – the bill would cost taxpayers $250 million the first year, $170 million in 2019-20, and $180 million in 2020-21.”

The California Teachers Association is projecting a loss of 23,000 members. The union also figures to lose a great majority of its 28,000 fee payers, those who have quit the union but still are forced to pay an “agency fee,” the amount of money the union claims it costs to represent them. But as a way to soften the financial hit, CTA has announced a per-teacher dues raise of $23 a year for the 2018-2019 school year, bringing the state component for teachers’ dues to $700 annually (only a portion of total dues), which will help ease the pain of lost members.

CTA’s parent, the National Education Association (NEA), is also planning strategies pending the adverse Janus decision. While it is preparing for a 10 percent teacher quit-rate and has slashed its budget by $50 million, NEA has also raised its per teacher share of dues, from $189 to $192 but is also considering a new class of member called “community ally.”

The new category would be open to “any person who demonstrates support in advancing the cause of public education, who advocates for the mission, vision, and core values of the Association, and who is not eligible for any other membership category.”  Since labor unions can only solicit political action committee contributions from members, this could open the door for deep-pocketed folks to join. This strategy most likely will be subject to judicial scrutiny.

The way unions work is to charge its members monthly dues. These dues are deducted by the local school district from a teacher’s monthly paycheck just as federal and state withholding taxes are. Then the school district turns the money over to the local teachers union.  Teachers unions are private organizations that don’t pay for the transactions.

In Oklahoma, Senate Bill 1150 is making the legislative rounds. The proposed law would prevent school districts from automatically deducting union dues from teacher paychecks. Instead, teachers would have to make arrangements with their union to submit payments. Union leaders have called this “union busting.” A similar bill is currently going through the Louisiana legislature.

Additionally, no union pays a penny in income tax.  As a 501(c)(5), unions have a special tax exempt status with the IRS which is accorded to “Labor, Agricultural, and Horticultural Organizations.” NEA took in $365,874,501 in 2015, according to its most recent available tax return, all coming from taxpayer supported teachers’ salaries. CTA’s income is $183,118,404 as per its latest return and that too is tax-free.


(Editor’s Note:  Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He is a fulltime political consultant. Larry Sand, a former classroom teacher, is the president of the non-profit California Teachers Empowerment Network – a non-partisan, non-political group that also offers professional liability insurance for teachers who do not wish to remain in public school teacher unions.  For more information contact:  1-888-290-8471 or email: [email protected].) 

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One Response to AB 2577:  California Public Employee Unions seek taxpayers funding

  1. Mark Malloy June 29, 2018 at 9:05 pm

    When you read the text of AB2577 you would have no idea what it actually means. See:


    It appears to allow a tax deduction for employees paying union dues. But upon closer review it means something very different–government agencies will be required to pay union dues for all of it’s employees. So then when an employee”opts out”of membership the union doesn’t mind because they no longer have to service the needs of that employee, and they get their money anyway. What an ingenious scam–cleverly disguised as something innocuous!


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