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Saturday, June 12, 2021

What Parents Can Do

The Conspiracy against 

$Alaska Public Education$

(2021©donnliston.com)


As residents of Anchorage revel in the coming of summer--and everybody is living the dream after a long winter--negotiating teams for the Anchorage Education Association-NEA (AEA) and the Anchorage School District (ASD) are expected to soon present a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for a vote by union members.

 

The current contract expires June 30, 2021.

 

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/579155d62994ca228042f673/t/5bef25ae4d7a9cbab8f5601c/1542399410443/2018+AEAASD+Tentative+Agreement.pdf

 

Parents need to be aware of how this impacts their children’s public education.

 

Let’s begin with the understanding that this CBA has traditionally been a conspiracy pact for plunder. The teacher union--NEA, NEA-Alaska, AEA--don’t give a damn about public education. Their only goal is to extract as much financial reward for members from the local/state government employers as possible. All members pay the same amount of dues and poor teachers are protected at the same level as great teachers under the legal Duty of Fair Representation.[1]

 

Academic outcomes prove this point. Children in public education are hostages.

 

Organized political action efforts (NEA-PACE) assure financial and organizational support of elected officials who will decide whether to accept terms of a new CBA. By taking money and endorsement from AEA, elected officials are beholding to the organization that contributed to getting them elected--every local government official who accepts campaign contributions from NEA-Alaska, AEA is a party to this conspiracy. Negotiations are simply theater for the uninformed who don’t understand the union has representation on both sides of the bargaining table.

 

Mamas and Papas who love their kids’ teachers provide cover for the crime. Many of these parents are themselves a product of ASD.

 

By contrast, ASD teachers who assertively choose to NOT be members of AEA cannot vote on the agreement, because the parties of this conspiracy assert that AEA is the exclusive bargaining agent for all teachers in the workplace. They agree to this in specific contract language.[2] Those who refuse to join the union are derisively called “free-loaders” and must file a challenge to their required membership and receive a pittance “refund” for the part of dues designated in annual court appearances as related to political action. This is all a big game for the union because virtually everything the union does is political action. EVERYTHING.

 

I know this first-hand as an employee of NEA-Alaska in the Juneau Headquarters office nine years between the mid-1980s and mid-1990s, at a time when we galvanized union power by presenting and advocating for ever-increasing education budgets and various union empowering legislation that became law, including the right of government teachers to strike after advisory arbitration.[3]

 

As an employee of NEA-Alaska in the Juneau Headquarters Office I worked in a modest two-story building in the center of this lot on Main Street. Today NEA-Alaska enjoys a virtual fortress one block below the state capital building.

The view of the Alaska Capitol and Dimond Court Building from in front of the NEA-Alaska fortress, Funding for Alaska Public Education has been enriching for the largest teacher union in the state.



In recent years the requirement for real teachers to not have to be members of the Union Mob has changed. A June 27, 2018 US Supreme Court decision, Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31, et al. changed all of this at the national level. So far most of Alaska’s 50+ school districts participating in this conspiracy have denied the legal action ever happened in successor agreements.  We will see whether co-conspirators ASD/AEA again offer contract language in violation of federal law in the upcoming proposed successor contract.

 

The Janus Decision

 

This legal action was initiated against the State of Illinois, where state law permitted a majority of public employees in the workplace to vote to be members of a union and designates that specific union as the exclusive representative of all employees in the class. This is also past practice in Alaska, mandating membership in the AFSCME or NEA affiliate unions as a condition of employment for government workers. I am very familiar with this expectation as I am also a former business agent for ASEA/AFSCME Local 52 in Juneau more than four years. This contract language has long been a bully tactic which State of Alaska management enforces—even serving as bagman for the mob—to extort dues from every member, which are forwarded to the union in a fat monthly check.

 

From the Janus Decision:

 

Petitioner Mark Janus is a state employee whose unit is represented by a public-sector union (Union), one of the respondents. He refused to join the Union because he opposes many of its positions, including those taken in collective bargaining. Illinois’ Governor, similarly, opposed to many of these positions, filed suit challenging the constitutionality of the state law authorizing agency fees. The state attorney general, another respondent, intervened to defend the law, while Janus moved to intervene on the Governor’s side. The District Court dismissed the Governor’s challenge for lack of standing, but it simultaneously allowed Janus to file his own complaint challenging the constitutionality of agency fees.


 

 One courageous public employee took on the union mob. His case went all the way to the US Supreme Court and he won. Here are some relevant excerpts from that majority decision every parent with kids in public education should know:

 

JUSTICE ALITO delivered the opinion of the Court.

 

Under Illinois law, public employees are forced to subsidize a union, even if they choose not to join and strongly object to the positions the union takes in collective bargaining and related activities. We conclude that this arrangement violates the free speech rights of nonmembers by compelling them to subsidize private speech on matters of substantial public concern.

 

Rationale for this position is explained throughout the decision:

 

Designating a union as the employees’ exclusive representative substantially restricts the rights of individual employees. Among other things, this designation means that individual employees may not be represented by any agent other than the designated union; nor may individual employees negotiate directly with their employer.

 

Government employees working as teachers represented by a union are forced to go along to get along. The court in this decision made specific reference to the obligation of public employee teachers who influence thinking of children in our communities:

 

Take the example of education, which was the focus of briefing and argument in Friedrichs.[3] The public importance of subsidized union speech is especially apparent in this field, since educators make up by far the largest category of state and local government employees, and education is typically the largest component of state and local government expenditures. Speech in this area also touches on fundamental questions of education policy. Should teacher pay be based on seniority, the better to retain experienced teachers? Or should schools adopt merit-pay systems to encourage teachers to get the best results out of their students? Should districts transfer more experienced teachers to the lower performing schools that may have the greatest need for their skills, or should those teachers be allowed to stay where they have put down roots? Should teachers be given tenure protection and, if so, under what conditions? On what grounds and pursuant to what procedures should teachers be subject to discipline or dismissal? How should teacher performance and student progress be measured—by standardized tests or other means? Unions can also speak out in collective bargaining on controversial subjects such as climate change, the Confederacy, sexual orientation and gender identity, evolution, and minority religions. These are sensitive political topics, and they are undoubtedly matters of profound “‘value and concern to the public.’” Snyder v. Phelps, 562 U. S. 443, 453 (2011). We have often recognized that such speech “‘occupies the highest rung of the hierarchy of First Amendment values’” and merits “‘special protection.’”

 



 To be a teacher requires an ability to see things as they really are and freely express views based on those observations unobstructed by groupthink and bully behaviors. The dynamic of forcing teachers under the fist of union coercion, requiring payment of agency fees for non-members and silencing individual free speech, was originally established in a 1977. The case is known as D. Louis ABOOD et al., Appellants, v. DETROIT BOARD OF EDUCATION et al., which was overturned by Janus.[4]

 

In its majority Janus decision the court said:

 

We recognize that the loss of payments from nonmembers may cause unions to experience unpleasant transition costs in the short term, and may require unions to make adjustments in order to attract and retain members. But we must weigh these disadvantages against the considerable windfall that unions have received under Abood for the past 41 years. It is hard to estimate how many billions of dollars have been taken from nonmembers and transferred to public-sector unions in violation of the First Amendment. Those unconstitutional exactions cannot be allowed to continue indefinitely… Neither an agency fee nor any other payment to the union may be deducted from a nonmember’s wages, nor may any other attempt be made to collect such a payment, unless the employee affirmatively consents to pay. By agreeing to pay, nonmembers are waiving their First Amendment rights, and such a waiver cannot be presumed.

 

Under federal law, therefore, any public employee must be afforded the right to opt-in to union membership and required dues. The employer cannot continue to be the bagman for the union or to require employees to join a union that usurps their freedom of speech under the US Constitution. This is the law of the land and to deny it is a criminal act. Under the Supreme Courts' Janus decision teachers are not required to join the union to keep their jobs. The union/ASD must allow for an "opt-in" requirement to join the union versus an "opt-out" to leave the union.

 

What does this mean for Parents of school aged children?

 

Soon we will learn what co-conspirators ASD/AEA have cooked up for the new CBA and your kids’ teachers who choose to be members of the union will be asked to vote on it. If the contract is ratified, it will go to the ASD Board of Education for ratification. If it continues to include language in violation of the Janus Decision the members who voted for it and the school board that adopted it are willing co-conspirators breaking federal law.

 

If you have ever felt your voice doesn’t matter as you see ASD decide what is good for your family based on the vote of a union-controlled school board, this is a time you can make a difference. Start by asking your child’s teacher outright if they are a member of the teacher union.

 

If they are, ask yourself: “Is that the kind of teacher your child deserves?” When you have a concern about what is being taught to your kids--about the indoctrination curriculum and the meaningless distractions from academic pursuits--do you expect your voice to be heard? If your own kids’ teachers have given up their own voice to the mob, how do you think they they will regard YOUR voice?

 


 

If your child’s teacher(s) are members of any NEA affiliate, in any district in the state, demand they be moved to another teacher. To be a teacher member of a union is a choice. Teachers don’t have to be sheep anymore.

 

References:

 

[1] Labor Law: Duty of Fair Representation

The duty of fair representation is incumbent upon U.S. labor unions that are the exclusive bargaining representative of workers in a particular group. It is the obligation to represent all employees fairly, in good faith, and without discrimination. Originally recognized by the United States Supreme Court in a series of cases in the mid-1940s involving racial discrimination by railway workers' unions covered by the Railway Labor Act, the duty of fair representation also applies to workers covered by the National Labor Relations Act and, depending on the terms of the statute, to public sector workers covered by state and local laws regulating labor relations.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duty_of_fair_representation

 

[2]Language from the current ASD/AEA Collective Bargaining Agreement

 

600 SERIES – AGREEMENT CONDITIONS

 

601 RECOGNITION

 

The Association is the exclusive collective bargaining agent for teachers/members, as defined by the agreement, and all rights contained herein shall be guaranteed to the Association and to no other competing labor organization.

 

The Association is recognized, for the purpose of this agreement, to represent certificated employees including the following job classifications: classroom teachers; counselors; nurses; occupational therapists; physical therapists; speech language pathologists; audiologists; librarians; teaching specialists; itinerant music, art and resource teachers; psychologists and teacher experts. The previous job classifications constitute the bargaining unit members. Disputes over representation of certificated employees in other job classifications may be submitted to the Alaska Labor Relations Agency. Positions represented by the Association shall not be assigned to another bargaining unit without the approval of the Association.

 

[3] SB 15, Jim Duncan, passed the Alaska Legislature in 1990 putting all government teachers under the Public Employee Relations Act with right to strike after advisory arbitration.

 

[4]Janus v. State, County, and Municipal Employees - Supreme Court

https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/17pdf/16-1466_2b3j.pdf

 

[5] Friedrichs v. California Teachers Assn., 576 U. S.

Friedrichs, et al. v. California Teachers Association, et. Al.

Issues

Do unions violate public employees’ First Amendment rights through public sector “agency shop” arrangements or by requiring them to affirmatively object to subsidizing public sector union nonchargeable speech?

https://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/cert/14-915

 

[6] D. Louis ABOOD et al., Appellants, v. DETROIT BOARD OF EDUCATION et al.

A Michigan statute authorizing union representation of local governmental employees permits an "agency shop" arrangement, whereby every employee represented by a union, even though not a union member, must pay to the union, as a condition of employment, a service charge equal in amount to union dues.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/431/209

  

Sunday, June 6, 2021

A Responsible Effort

The “Cityhood Movement” Moves North

(2021©donnliston.com)

The Municipality of Anchorage covers a vast and diverse area.


Several communities in the Georgia County of Fulton have decided they want their local government closer to the people. Fulton County and Cobb County include the City of Atlanta. These communities have formally detached from Fulton in what has been dubbed a “Cityhood Movement.”[1] As some Alaskans who live in the area of the Municipality of Anchorage consider the possibility of doing the same--in what is known as Assembly District 2 (AD2)--the lessons of communities which have done this elsewhere are worth considering.

 

The EaglExit organization has been working two years to prepare a plan for the Local Boundary Commission (LBC). Under Article X Section 12 of the Alaska Constitution the commission may present any proposed local government boundary changes to the Alaska Legislature during the first 10 days of any regular session. The change shall become effective 45 days after presentation or at the end of the session, whichever is earlier, unless disapproved by a resolution concurred in by a majority of the members of each house.[2]

 

Alaska currently has 19 organized boroughs and the Unorganized Borough according the the Department of Community and Regional Affairs Website. The Municipality of Anchorage is a borough.

 

https://www.commerce.alaska.gov/web/dcra/LocalBoundaryCommission.aspx


The LBC has five members appointed by the Governor; one appointed from each of Alaska's four judicial districts. The Chair is appointed at large. Currently the At-Large Chairman appointed by Gov. Mike Dunleavy is Larry Wood of Eagle River. John Harrington was appointed from the First Judicial District, Ketchikan, by Gov. Sean Parnell. The Second Judicial District is represented by Kenneth Gallahorn from Kotzebue, appointed by Gov. Dunleavy. Richard "Clayton" Trotter was appointed by Gov. Dunleavy to represent the Third Judicial District, and he lives in Eagle River. The fifth member of the LBC is Lance Roberts of Fairbanks, appointed by Gov. Dunleavy to represent Alaska’s Fourth Judicial District.

 

This is the group that must be convinced that detaching AD2 from the Municipality of Anchorage is legal and has merit.




 

Alaska Boroughs

 

The Alaska Municipal League provides a Short History of Borough Formation since Statehood:

 

• Through bipartisan legislative mandate, the “Mandatory Borough Act” of 1963, nine regional areas were forced, in a relatively short period of time, to establish themselves as boroughs. These were: Ketchikan, Sitka, Juneau, Haines, Kenai, Anchorage, Kodiak, Mat-Su, and Fairbanks.

 

• Over the course of 57 years (1962-2019), ten boroughs formed voluntarily. These are: Bristol Bay, North Slope, Northwest Arctic, Aleutians East, Lake and Peninsula, Denali, Yakutat, Skagway, Wrangell and Petersburg.

 

• Incentives provided by the legislature to incorporate have included: shared taxes, revenue sharing funding, “seed money” funding, and municipal land entitlements.

 

Today’s Unorganized Borough is described as follows:

 

 • The singular Unorganized Borough of Alaska, encompasses over half of the area of the state, over 374,000 square miles. About 82,000 people reside within the borough, which is 13 percent of Alaskans.

 

• Within the Unorganized Borough, there are 15 Home Rule and First Class Cities (such as Unalaska, Nome, Valdez, Cordova, Hoonah, Nenana, Tanana) and 80 Second Class Cities (such as Delta Junction, Gustavus, Whittier, Fort Yukon).

 

• Reports from Depart of Community and Regional Affairs and LBC over the years have recommended different levels of borough formation out of the unorganized, such as model “starter” boroughs or fully conceived boroughs, which meet standards of incorporation.

 

The inequity of having an unorganized borough over more than half of the state is easiest to see in the Public Education System and Funding:

 

• The nineteen organized boroughs of Alaska encompass nineteen school districts, each with an elected school board and a superintendent. Each borough contributes a Required Local Contribution (currently 2.65 mils of FVD) to basic educational need; funding of which the state is not required to provide.

 

With State budget cuts in recent years, local governments can no longer expect State assistance in paying for capital expenses as has happened in the past.

 

• The single Unorganized Borough encompasses 15 municipal school districts (Home Rule or First Class cities with education powers), and 19 Rural Education Attendance Areas, for a total of 34 school districts. Each district has its own school board and superintendent. While municipal districts are required to fund a local contribution, the 19 REAA s are completely state funded, both operations and maintenance.

 

• This inequity is an ongoing source of friction, even litigation.[3]


 

A 1981 study concluded “the present system encourages dependence and that the inhabitants of the Unorganized Borough are encouraged to be supplicants and clients of state-provided services and largely spectators upon the political life of local government”. (Thomas, ed., Ritchie, page 644)

 

Sandy Springs First Declared Independence in Georgia

 

Oliver W. Porter played a key role in the implementation of the new City of Sandy Springs, and wrote a book about it.[4] I have met Porter in Atlanta myself, and he has been an advisor to EaglExit.




Implementation of Sandy Springs was unique in a number of ways. Unlike Alaska, with provisions in our constitution to allow boundary changes, it was necessary to create new laws to enable incorporation there. The first step had to be forming a local boundary commission in Georgia! The process of creating a new local government entity took one year and it was done by the organizers without authority, funds or staff. Created by volunteers in a major exercise of democracy, services of the city were assigned to private industry in the broadest such contract in the nation.

 

These are not Collective Bargaining Agreements with the city and public sector unions. These are contracts for services with vendors responsible for delivering direct services. If the vendors choose to affiliate with private sector unions that is their choice. Results are what matters for the citizens of Sandy Springs.

 

From the book: “The innovative use of private industry, through competitive contracting, to provide the widest possible scope of community services could well become a model for the twenty-first century city in America.”

 

Since the successful detachment of Sandy Springs from the City of Atlanta in 2005, other communities have been able to do the same.

 

From Wikipedia: South Fulton is a city in Fulton County, Georgia, United States, in the Atlanta metropolitan area. It was incorporated in 2017 from parts of southwest Fulton County and includes the communities of Red Oak, Cooks Crossing, Stonewall Tell, Fife, Ben Hill, Sandtown, Cliftondale, Peters Woods, and part of Campbellton. It has a population of 99,155 and an area of 85.64 square miles (221.8 km2).]

 


 


This process was not easy. In 2007 the people of the region voted in a referendum 85% against forming a municipality. In 2016 the Georgia General Assembly passed bill HB514 to incorporate South Fulton, which received the signature of Governor Nathan Deal on April 29, 2016.

 

On November 8, 59% of the citizens of South Fulton voted to become a chartered city. In early 2017, South Fulton held elections on March 21, followed by runoff elections before incorporation took effect May 1.

 


One year start to finish.

 

Today South Fulton's population as of 2019 is estimated to be 99,155 making it the fifth largest city in Georgia. In 2010, prior to incorporation, the United States Census Bureau estimates that the area now within South Fulton's boundaries was home to 85,769 people.

 

We don’t have enough organized boroughs in Alaska to bring government to the people. Instead, we have some boroughs that were required to be formed but serve only high population areas. Article X of our State Constitution calls for …maximum local self-government with a minimum of local government units…as it should be. Requiring Alaskans who choose to organize local governments to pay for services to areas of the state which choose not to organize is enabling behavior, resulting in weak public education and dependency. If the Unorganized Borough was turned into a locally-controlled boroughs services could be contracted to private companies including Native Regional and Village Corporations.

 

On the other hand, Alaskans should not be bound to a borough simply because it is the original governing entity. A community that wants to detach should be encouraged to go on its own, as a child leaves the family home should be encouraged to embrace the future.

 

The time has come for EaglExit.

 

References:

 

South Fulton is the latest of a number of Atlanta. GA communities to detach

[1] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Fulton,_Georgia

[2]Alaska’s Constitution; a Citizen’s Guide, Gordon Harrison fourth edition, Alaska Legislative Affairs Agency, 2002

[3]Creating the New City of Sandy Springs, Oliver W. Porter, Authorhouse Publishers, Bloomington, IN, 2006.

[4] Alaska Municipal League

https://www.akml.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Unorganized-Borough-Walker.pdf


Other stories about the effort to detach AD2 from the Municipality of Anchorage:

Veteran-Owned Business

https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2021/05/veteran-owned-business.html

 

EaglExit Challenges

https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2021/05/eaglexit-challenges.html

 

The Important Role of Local Government

https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2021/05/eaglexit-challenges.html

 

What kind of future do we want?

https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2021/04/a-vision-for-chugiak-eagle-river-2021.html

 

Our Public Education Challenge

https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2021/03/our-asd-public-education-challenge.html

 

Matanuska Brewing Company Innovates

https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2021/03/challenges-from-anchorage_20.html

 

Looking Back, And A Vision for the Future

https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2021/02/the-big-picture-of-eaglexit.html

 

What Happened to Anchorage Hospitality?

https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2021/02/the-best-thing-about-being-in-anchorage.html

 

The Cozy Side of Eagle River

https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2021/01/destiny-happens.html

 

Pandemic Business Survivor ER Small Engine Repair

https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2020/11/the-wonder-of-small-engines-john.html

 

Decentralize Anchorage. It Really is Our Only Solution

https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2020/08/decentralize-anchorage-it-really-is-our.html

 

How Can Alaska Gain Food Security?

https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2020/06/how-can-alaska-gain-food-security.html

 

Eaglexit’s New Validation

https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2020/05/eaglexits-new-validation.html

 

Eaglexit Overview

https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2019/09/eaglexitoverview-whatis-eaglexit-all.html

 

Is Eagle River ready for a Divorce?

https://donnliston.blogspot.com/2019/05/is-eagle-river-ready-for-divorce.html

 


  

What Parents Can Do

The Conspiracy against  $Alaska Public Education$ (2021 © donnliston.com) As residents of Anchorage revel in the coming of summer--and e...