Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R-Rocklin) defended a tweet he made Sunday encouraging teachers in the California Teachers Association (CTA) to stop paying union dues.
In his tweet, Assemblyman Kiley explained that teachers have a constitutional right to opt-out of paying union dues and that organizations such as the California Policy Center can help teachers stop paying.
If you're a teacher and would rather your paycheck not be used to keep Gavin Newsom in office, groups like the California Policy Center can help you exercise your constitutional right to opt out of dues.
— Kevin Kiley (@KevinKileyCA) February 7, 2021
In a Fox News Interview on Tuesday, Kiley explained that union dues from the CTA help fund Democratic causes and Governor Newsom, primarily his recall campaign fight. Governor Newsom himself has been trying to reopen schools against the wishes of many teachers who want to be vaccinated first, even offering $2 billion in incentives to schools that reopen first, potentially putting lives at risk.
Due to the entanglement of the Governor and teachers over reopening, Kiley said that opting-out of paying dues is a power teachers still have and would be a way for teachers to note their displeasure from being barred from teaching by both the Governor and the teachers union.
“I was simply pointing out that you as a teacher, have a very powerful tool available to you, and that is to deprive the massive unions that control the governor of their source of power, which is their funding,” Assemblyman Kiley explained on Monday. “That’s an option that is, at least in theory, available to every teacher, although California’s politicians have tried to make that very difficult.”
“Teachers want to go back to their classrooms but are being barred from doing so by their union or by the governor himself.”
And with Governor Newsom now facing an almost certain recall election this year, Kiley said that the CTA and other teachers unions will defend him.
“They will spend millions to defend them like they spent millions to elect him,” added Kiley. “And so if you’re a public school teacher who’s very frustrated that the governor and the CTA have kept you from being in your classroom and have kept your kids from learning, the last thing you want is for part of your paycheck to subsidize the governor and the CTA in keeping this corrupt power structure in place.”
Kiley and the CTA
In addition, Kiley said that unions were to blame for California’s decline in recent years in education.
“We’ve seen that on stark display here during COVID-19 because it’s the force of these unions and their control over Newsom that has caused our schools to be shut down to a greater degree than any other state. And it’s done incalculable harm for millions of kids,” said the Assemblyman. “One of the things that might come out of this in the long run is that the CTA has been ruining public education in California for a long time. They’ve been limiting school choice, they’ve been condemning poor kids to failing schools, and they’ve created a public education system which does the worst of any state for poor kids or any state other than Alaska.
“So now that the public has sort of seen that dynamic for what it is, I think it might be harder for them to play that game going forward and perhaps there’ll be an opportunity for meaningful education reforms.”
The CTA fired back at Kiley on Monday, noting that it is a “nothing story” and that the Assemblyman was wrong.
“Mr. Kiley is wrong and obviously doesn’t understand the laws,” said the CTA.
However, with Californian law on his side, Assemblyman Kiley tweeted back on Tuesday that he was correct and that union employees can opt-out.
“Mr. Kiley is wrong and obviously doesn’t understand the laws,” a CTA spokesperson told Fox News in response to my indisputable observation that teachers have a constitutional right to opt out of dues,” tweeted Kiley.
"Mr. Kiley is wrong and obviously doesn't understand the laws," a CTA spokesperson told Fox News in response to my indisputable observation that teachers have a constitutional right to opt out of dues.
— Kevin Kiley (@KevinKileyCA) February 9, 2021
Labor lawyers have agreed with the Assemblyman.
“California isn’t a right to work state or anything like that, but you can leave a union if you want,” explained Washington-based labor lawyer Jill Lansky. “It can be a pain, and unions will often try to convince you otherwise, but if you are in a public-sector union, you can, like the CTA.”
“Janus V. AFSCME said so in 2018. Union reps in California absolutely hate hearing that, but that was the ruling that allowed public employees to not pay union dues and not be fired or get the ire of the union in return. And yes, that definitely includes the CTA.”
As of Tuesday, it is unknown how many teachers have opted out of the CTA following Assemblyman Kiley’s tweets.