The Fat Lady is Warming Up
TEA teachers get a big pay increase, thanks to Rep. Billy Spivey
The opera may not quite be over when it comes to the TEA’s liberal, pro-Democrat campaign contributions, but the veritable “Fat Lady” is shining up her spear and about to break out in an aria (“aria” – that means a “song” for all you folks in Sneedville).
In what was likely the TEA’s best chance at stopping a bill to end the practice of having the government collect TEA’s dues directly from teacher’s paychecks, a House education subcommittee passed a bill offered by Rep. Spivey over the objection of the TEA. It passed 6-2. The only Republican voting for it was union sympathizer Harry Brooks.
One of the key moments came when TEA Lobbyist Jim Wrye tried to sidestep a question from Rep. Debra Moody about TEA dues going to the NEA for political purposes. Wrye said that most all of that money went to pay for UniServe employees working for the TEA. When another witness pointed out that UniServe/TEA employee Chris Brooks had repeatedly attacked GOP Sen. Todd Gardenhire, among others, committee members began to nod knowingly. At that point, TEA lobbyist and former Republican legislator Philip Johnson placed a bag over his head and tried to become invisible. The die was cast.
So what does this mean? Well if other states who have done this are any guide, the union in Tennessee can expect a large percentage – possibly a majority – of it’s members will elect not to have the hundreds of dollars in annual dues taken out of their paychecks. Given the option, most teachers elsewhere have said “goodbye” to the union. That means a huge loss in membership and in money for the TEA.
Perhaps the most cutting payback for the TEA was when Rep. John DeBerry, one of only two Democrats on the panel, voted for the bill. Did he do so because Jim Wrye screwed the Black Caucus on campaign contributions in an effort to suck up to the GOP majority? Or was it because Wrye & Co. is currently trying to screw the union teachers in Memphis (who have broken off from the state TEA)? Paybacks are hell, eh Jim?
Back in 2010, The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the government was not obligated to collect such dues on behalf of partisan organizations like the TEA. Joining the majority in that decision was one Justice Antonin Scalia. His ruling made today’s vote possible.
God bless you, Justice Scalia. We know you are smiling from above.