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A federal district court threw out the case of Bain v California Teachers Association, which was a victory for the unions. The suit was funded by Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst, in an effort to cripple the union. For an explanation of the suit, read this. As Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times explained,
“Attacks on public employee unions, especially teachers unions, have become a permanent feature of the political landscape. But you’d be hard pressed to find one as incoherent and dishonest as a lawsuit filed last month in federal court in Los Angeles against six California and national teachers unions.
“The lawsuit purports to defend the “free speech” rights of its plaintiffs, four California schoolteachers. But its real goal is to silence the collective voice of union members on political and educational issues. Its lesson is simple: If you don’t like the decisions your organization or community reaches through the democratic process, just refuse to pay for them.
“The plaintiffs in Bain vs. California Teachers Assn., et al, say the conditions of union membership coerce them into supporting “political or ideological” viewpoints they don’t share. StudentsFirst, an education reform group supported by wealthy hedge fund managers and the Walton family, is bankrolling the lawsuit. StudentsFirst was founded by onetime Washington, D.C., schools chancellor Michelle Rhee, who, before leaving the organization in 2014 under a cloud, established its philosophy that the problem with education is that teachers have too much power and job protection.”
The national leaders of NEA and AFT were jubilant.
The NEA released this statement today:
“Hi Diane – Hope all is well. I wanted to make sure you saw our statement on the dismissal of April Bain et.al. v. California Teachers Association (aka “Bain v. CTA). Thanks!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 30, 2015
CONTACT: Staci Maiers, NEA Communications, 202-270-5333 cell, [email protected]
Federal court dismisses meritless lawsuit seeking to silence voices of educators
Bain v. CTA is another attack on educators ‘bankrolled by wealthy special interest groups’
WASHINGTON—A federal district court in California today dismissed Bain v. California Teachers Association, a lawsuit that sought to undermine the ability of teachers, school employees, and other educators to join together and speak up for public education and their students.
The court concluded that the lawsuit—brought with funding from anti-teacher group Students First against the National Education Association, the California Teachers Association, NEA’s state-level affiliate, and several other unions—was without merit and did not state any viable legal claims. The court’s decision came just days after it heard argument on the union defendants’ motion to dismiss the case.
The following statement can be attributed to NEA President Lily Eskelsen García:
“The National Education Association is pleased that the court today saw through the thinly veiled attempts to silence the voice of educators and rightly dismissed Bain v. California Teachers Association. The court, like every other court that has considered such claims, found the plaintiffs’ case without merit. No teacher is required to join a union and no teacher is required to pay any fees that go to politics or political candidates.
“This case is just another attack on educators and their unions that is being bankrolled by wealthy special interest groups whose objective is to undermine public education. Teachers unions are made up of educators who join together to make their voices heard on issues that affect their students, classrooms and schools.
“The stark reality is that America has swung out of balance. It’s getting harder to get by, let alone get ahead, and the gaps between the haves and have-nots is only widening. This case is about making it even harder for working people—like school bus drivers, nurses, counselors, custodians and classroom teachers—to come together, speak up for their students and each other, and get ahead by negotiating to ensure better learning and working conditions. Lawsuits like Bain v. CTA are just another distraction and do nothing to help students.”
# # #
For Immediate Release
September 30, 2015
AFT’s Weingarten on Granted Motion to Dismiss in Bain Case
WASHINGTON—Statement from American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on the motion to dismiss being granted in the Bain v. California Teachers Association case.
“Through their union, educators join together to make their voices heard on issues that affect our children: fighting for smaller class sizes; advocating for enough nurses and librarians; calling for full and fair funding of our schools; and making sure every child has the resources they need to succeed. The only way to do that is by using our strength in numbers—banding together and speaking with one voice.
“This case was yet another tactic by wealthy special interests, led by Students First, to pull working people apart and silence teachers. It’s no surprise that every court that has considered the claims outlined by the plaintiffs in this case has rejected them.
“As the U.S. Supreme Court session begins next week, we have renewed hope for justices who will stand with working people and reaffirm their right to democratically come together, negotiate for fair pay and benefits, and, most importantly, speak up for our children and our communities.”