The California Teachers Association (CTA), which represents more than 310,000 teachers across the state, employs hundreds of people who carry out the day-to-day operations of the union. These staffers, ironically, are unionized themselves and often bargain against CTA over many of the issues that the CTA bargains for with school districts every few years.
For the California Staff Organization (CSO), the union for CTA staffers, it’s bargaining season. This means issues like pay raises, paid time off, healthcare contributions, work schedules and retirement savings contributions are all on the table while these two groups attempt to strike a fair bargain.
You might imagine CTA would be sympathetic toward its own employees who regularly participate on the bargaining teams throughout CTA affiliated unions. They are, after all, a union, so shouldn’t they be easy to bargain with?
Unfortunately for the employees of CTA, it’s not that simple. It turns out CTA may be just as vicious toward its own employees as it is to the school districts they represent.
Currently, CSO members are dealing with a proposed cut in monthly contributions toward their retirement savings account. Members of CSO have taken to their Facebook page to talk about how this proposed cut would affect them, with some members saying they could lose out on up to $22,000 per year in retirement savings.
What makes the issue interesting is how hard CTA has fought in general to protect the pensions of teachers, even while the state of California has said for decades the current system is unsustainable. Currently, state’s unfunded pension liability for just the California State Teachers’ Retirement System is greater than $100 billion.
To put that into perspective, in 2019 California spent about $97.2 billion on the entire public education system for K-12 students.
I guess when you’re one of the biggest unions in the state, it’s one rule for you and another for everyone else.