NC Educators Fight Anti-Educator Law in Court


by Brian Washington

North Carolina educators are showing they are not willing to let misguided state lawmakers rob them of their ability to speak up for children—not without a fight.  And now it appears that fight is headed to court.

A judge issued a temporary restraining order Monday blocking the state from implementing a law passed by the Republican-controlled state legislature that would have prevented the North Carolina Association of Eductors (NCAE) from collecting dues from its members using payroll deduction.  A hearing to seek a preliminary injunction is expected to be scheduled within the next 10 days.

NCAE President Sheri Strickland and Robert Orr

“We are looking forward to using the legal process to make sure our members can continue to elect to have their dues payroll deducted,” said Sheri Strickland, a former preschool disabilities coordinator for exceptional children and the current president of NCAE.

Former State Supreme Court Justice Robert Orr, a prominent figure in GOP politics, is acting as lead counsel for NCAE.

“The legislation was enacted in violation of the constitution,” said Orr. “The state constitution does not mention Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative.  It is what it is and it says what it says.”

In the wee hours of Thursday morning last week and with no advance notice, lawmakers moved to override Gov. Bev Perdue’s veto of SB 727, stripping NCAE of its ability to collect dues through payroll deduction.

Plain and simple—this is political payback.  In fact, Strickland played an audio recording for reporters last week of House Speaker Thom Tillis caught on tape by the media talking about his plans to hurt NCAE.

North Carolina General Assembly

Sound familiar?  That’s because we’ve seen these same underhanded, anti-education tactics—carried out in similar fashion in states across the country—including Wisconsin, where Gov. Scott Walker and Republican leaders last year rammed a similar bill through the legislature with very little public debate.

Strickland told reporters last week, the message from lawmakers is clear: “If you stand against cuts to public education, we will teach you a lesson.  If you point out that they have taken North Carolina to nearly dead last in per pupil funding, you will be bullied.  If you say that we are short-changing our students, we will try and silence your voice.  Our message to them is we will not be intimidated, we will not be silenced, and we will not back down.”

Later this week on EducationVotes, a North Carolina Republican educator talks about how state GOP lawmakers have squandered their opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children.

Reader Comments

  1. Why are those in power so threatened by an educated workforce? When we all succeed, the US prospers and there is certainly plenty to go around. Where does the greed stop?

  2. Thank you NCAE for standing up for the rights of educators-from a retired Wisconsin educator and a current Wisconsin (small school) school board Pres. Watch out teachers for your pension plans too. We had a former Repubican gov who raided Wisconsin’s retirement fund. Thankfully, the WEA took him to court and he got spanked. Had to return the money he took with interest. Now we have another Republican and I wouldn’t be surprised if he tries the same, except that we now have a law preventing it.

  3. If they can deduct fees for re-certification which is necessary for our profession then dues to professional organizations which promote professional development, exhange of ideas and collaboration should be allowed. You mean to tell me that dues are not deducted for the Bar Association? or the American Medical Association? or the Chamber of Commerce?

  4. How is eliminating the right to have association dues deducted from paychecks going to improve the education in North Carolina or in any other state where this agenda item is and will undoubtedly surface? Union-busting for sure! Go for the win, NCAE!

  5. Arizona passed the same anti-educator bill last year. We no longer have payroll deduction for Association dues. But AZ is known as an anti-worker & anti-education state.

  6. Teachers and supporting staff members beware, this won’t stop with simply stopping the collection of professional dues. Ultimately, the legislature wants a healthy portion of the retirement system to fund other projects and there’s a belief that if successful with this first venture, busting the grip of the NCAE for good is just around the corner. These are first steps to the process known as “union busting.” Even though NC is RTW state, the process is still the same. Similar tactics are being used in both New Jersey and Wisconsin, both states with educator unions. Anyway, the glove’s been thrown down so expect a harsh fight. Don’t rule out constitutional amendments that make the process unlawful while at the same time ammending the “free and basic Ed guarantee” to being removed from NC’s constitution. Wait ‘n see.

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