RALEIGH – At First in Freedom Daily we’ve recently covered the ongoing feud between the North Carolina Association of Educators, their Leftist protectors, and conservatives in the General Assembly that assert the organization is violating the law in order to use State administered payroll services that pressure teachers into maintaining membership.
Sen. Ralph Hise (R-Madison), a reliable conservative that has a record of fighting Big State Government, is fighting to bar the NCAE and other private organizations from leveraging the State systems to collect membership dues, while also contending that the teachers union doesn’t even qualify to use the services under current state law.
In an interview, Hise told First in Freedom Daily that the crux of the issue is whether or not it is the proper role of State government to administer programs for private organizations.
“Eliminating the payroll deduction as a whole is something I’ve been focused my entire tenure in the General Assembly. I’ve never thought it’s a proper role for state government. The first bill I ran wound up getting reduced to just the [North Carolina Association of Educators] – that actually passed the General Assembly in 2011. Some court fights were lost because the bill singled out the NCAE.”
Hise explained how the privilege of using State payroll services is not offered to just anyone. He says the thresholds for accessing the services were specifically designed to benefit the NCAE, set at a minimum of 40,000 members, while keeping out competing organizations like the Professional Educators of North Carolina.\
What’s more, Hise and many other suspect that the NCAE hasn’t even met that threshold for sometime and the State Auditor has been unable (or unwilling) to verify those numbers for three years running.
“The threshold was really set in a manner, at 40,000, to keep other organizations like the Professional Teacher Association, out from being able to utilize it, and allows that only one organization would qualify…it’s a special privilege given to a select – one- of this group of organizations.”
For two sessions in a row now, Hise has filed bills to eliminate dues collections services altogether. His measure passed the N.C. Senate last year, but stalled in the N.C. House. It is eligible to be taken up by the House when they reconvene in 2018.
Most of the costs to the State, Hise says, comes from payroll changes in these organizations that have to be verified by the State every time they occur to make sure they still meet required thresholds. Again, NCAE numbers have not been verified for years, yet they still enjoy access to this system.
Beyond that, Hise has serious issues with the implications that by using this payroll dues collection service individual members are forced to go through their colleagues and superiors to make changes such as leaving the union that open them up to all sorts of pressure and intimidation to remain in support of an organization that may not represent them as much as they would like.
“…what I’ve dealt with is where they now want to remove themselves from that process, as a lot of teachers have over the last few years, they really have to go and notify their coworkers to have stop this from being taken out of their check and I’ve had several reports of what I would call inappropriate interactions in which they’re fired back at as ‘Don’t you support teachers, don’t you support our profession?’ and those type of things.”
It’s no secret that unions, by their nature, can and do use pressure tactics to guilt or intimidate individuals to insure their continued support. Hise thinks that if the NCAE was no longer granted the privilege of the dues collection payroll service (which they may not qualify for anyway) that their membership would decline as teachers would not longer face workplace pressures to support the Leftist organization.
“I actually think it is members that would no longer be part of the organization because they didn’t have to go through the pressure of dealing with their administrators and the potential repercussions of not being a part of the organization that the individual feels doesn’t represents them. If it wasn’t that kind of peer pressure and that kind of collection and verification on the members inside the system I think there’s a lot of teachers who wouldn’t be part of the organization.”
Hise will continue to push his bill to take away such privileges to from private organizations because it is not the proper role of the State to facilitate such things, particularly when the employer is the State itself.
In the meantime, though, Hise still contends that the NCAE and others enabling their collection services are in violation of state law for as long as they refuse to verify their membership numbers as it relates to the required threshold.
“Their ability to access particularly the LEAs is conditional upon their having 40,000 members. […] The law says they must be over 40,000. If they continue to access dues and they’re under 40,000 it is my contention that they have violated the law and the LEAs are violating the law by continuing to allow them access.”
Jones Street could use a few more lawmakers like Sen. Ralph Hise that are not afraid to speak truth to power in order to enforce limited and appropriate government in the Old North State.