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Opt Out Today: California Teachers Association collected over $178 million in dues in just one year – how does that affect our elections?

17 Jan


I went to, where public employees can get more information about opting out of union dues, and maybe get a refund of illegally collected dues. You can look up the union that owes you money at their website:


Since we’ve been talking about the teachers’ union, I looked at CTA – California Teacher’s Association, who collected over $178 million in dues in just one year. The site also tells you where the money goes – some of these union employees get paid more than $400,000/year in salary – just think what the pension deficit for this agency looks like. 

California Teachers Association

Public employee unions are private organizations with minimal obligations to disclose financial information to members. The lack of accountability makes it easy for unions to take advantage of the easy income.

However, the IRS requires unions’ 990 tax returns to be publicly available, and these can be found online at sites like CTA reports using the Employer Identification Number (EIN) 94-0362310.

CTA’s form 990 for 2016 shows it collected $178.4 million in dues and fees from public employees that year. CTA’s highest-paid employee, associate executive director Emma Leheny, was paid $480,529. Former CTA executive director Carolyn Dogget was paid $370,610 in 2016, even though she performed no work on behalf of the union. At least 11 other CTA executives are paid hefty six-figure salaries. The union even loaned CTA president Eric Heins nearly $50,000 to finance a new car.

A portion of the funds CTA collects are forwarded to the National Education Association (NEA) in Washington, D.C.

Reports NEA must file annually with the U.S. Department of Labor indicate it collected $373.6 million in the 2017-18 school year and had a paid staff of around 700.

  • $26.7 million was spent by NEA on divisive political candidates, causes and lobbying.
  • $108 million was paid or contributed to ideological organizations and political advocacy groups.
  • The highest-paid NEA international employee, president Lily Eskelsen-Garcia, was paid $414,824 in 2018.
  • Nearly 400 NEA employees were paid six-figures in 2018.

NEA’s 2018 LM-2 report is available here.
NEA’s 2017 LM-2 report is available here.
NEA’s 2016 LM-2 report is available here.

On the unions’ annual “Hudson Notice” breaking out how much was spent on core union services, CTA reported that $55 million (29.7 percent) was not used for workplace services. Likewise, the NEA reported that $192 million (58 percent) was not used for workplace services.

Kathie Moloney: If you are frustrated with how your union dues are spent and/or unhappy with the direction our state and taxes, it’s time to stop giving these unions millions of dollars to push their political agenda

16 Jan

Given what I’ve learned over the past 10 years about the public pension system, it has been hard for me to keep any kind of respect for public employees. I’ll admit – I think anybody who would go along with the system is a creep, and doesn’t deserve any of my consideration. Especially school teachers – I went to public school, it kills all your trust and respect for adults.

But every now and then I meet a public employee who is not a total scumbag. Once a woman followed me out of a meeting at Chico City Hall, said she hadn’t wanted to talk to me in front of her coworkers, but  didn’t explain. She told me not all public workers enjoyed the kind of Gravy Train management was on. Then she took my hand and looked directly into my eyes and said she liked my letters – “keep doing what you’re doing”, she told me, and she slipped out of sight down a hallway. 

Looking at, you can see, not all city employees are considered equal – the “classified” staff don’t make nearly the salaries bestowed on management, who are like some kind of royalty compared to the people who actually do the work. 

Then a county worker called me, didn’t want to identify himself, but told me county workers are not all paid that great. He also explained to me that your union rep isn’t some popular co-worker elected by his peers – the county hires the union rep, he makes a management salary, and he bargains for his own salary separately from the workers he supposedly represents. Unions are a lot more “On The Waterfront” than “Norma Rae” these days. 

So I wondered how these people felt about forced conscription into a union that does not necessarily represent your interests – or your political beliefs. Then I heard about Janus vs AFSCME – the Supreme Court ruled in 2018 that forcing employees to pay union dues is ILLEGAL.

 “The Supreme Court ruled that such union fees in the public sector violate the First Amendment right to free speech…”

And, they ruled that employees who had opted out of the union but still been forced to pay dues (the city of Chico collected union dues from all their paychecks) would be eligible for REFUNDS.  But I’ve been left wondering how many employees would actually ask for the refunds.

Finally today I saw a letter in the Enterprise Record from a woman who describes herself as a retired teacher and says she was forced to pay union dues. She reports that she was never even told she could opt out of the portion used for political purposes – that was the law even before Janus vs AFSCME.   I bet a lot of union employees were unaware they were being ripped off. 

Unfortunately, I think she made a very pertinent grammatical error in her letter – I think she meant to say, “CTA used a portion of these dues to fund politicians and political campaigns that I did [NOT?] support” but left out the “not”. I think the ER is a piece of shit – that’s what editors are supposed to do. It’s an obvious mistake, but the ER staff didn’t think to contact this woman?

But, Mike Wolcott contacted my husband again and again about a letter my husband had sent, telling him he had to rewrite it extensively because Wolcott didn’t like the use of the words “shack” or “dumpster diving” regarding the Simplicity Village proposal. Wolcott’s not a journalist, he’s not even a very good editor. 

Here’s the letter from Kathie Moloney, you decide for yourself what she’s trying to say. 

And I’ll apologize now for thinking all public school teachers are money-grubbing kid-haters. 


I am a retired educator of 34 years and was required to pay dues to CTA each month in order to work. CTA used a portion of these dues to fund politicians and political campaigns that I did support nor give money to. CTA usually endorsed liberal politicians and their agendas.

While I often appreciated my local unions representation, I was never told I had the right to opt out of a portion of my dues CTA sent to political campaigns until late in my career. Educators are getting notices in the mail on how to opt out and possibly get a refund thanks to a 2018 Supreme Court decision. Go to for more information. This website indicates this ruling applies to all public employees who are mandated to pay union dues in order to have a job.

If you are frustrated with how your union dues are spent and/or unhappy with the direction our state and taxes, it’s time to stop giving these unions millions of dollars to push their political agenda.

— Kathie Moloney, Orland


Book In Common: PLUNDER! How Public Employees are Raiding Treasuries, Controlling Our Lives and Bankrupting the Nation, by Steven Greenhut.

25 Jan

I’d been waiting over a week for a book I’d ordered online that should have been delivered within a couple of days. I kept checking my PO box, by this past Monday, I worried it had got lost. Yesterday it finally arrived – well, I got it yesterday. I’m guessing it arrived at Chico post office about a week ago.

It was too big for my PO box, I know the routine – they put a key in your box that goes with one of the big boxes in front of the annex. I retrieved the package from the big box and immediately noticed – a postal worker had scrawled a box number in big black letters across the front of the package, unfortunately, it wasn’t my box number. My correct box number was listed in the address box on the front of the package, neat and tidy.  Postal worker transposed the numbers, in big black writing, so the key went to somebody else’s box.

Here’s where human decency comes in. Somebody else got my package, saw it wasn’t for them, and put it back in the stream. They may even be the same person who wrote the correct number above the transposed number. 

When this happened at my house, my neighbors got my packages. Both packages were clearly marked with the correct address, but mail man delivered them to my neighbors. Neither neighbor bothered to return the package to my clearly marked box on the street, both opened the packages, even though they were addressed to someone else. We got the packages back because my husband went door-to-door. 

Neither neighbor apologized for opening our packages, we let it go and stopped having stuff shipped to our home. 

Of course Christmas is a horrible time to get or send packages, we all know that. But I order a lot of household goods from an online seller in Vermont, and I had to have some stuff delivered in the first weeks of December. Right in the middle of the flood of evacuees driven out by the Camp Fire. But my package had a tracking number, I watched it move slowly across the US, and then I saw it had been delivered to Chico Post Office on Vallombrosa. But it wasn’t in my PO box, I kept waiting. Finally I went in very early one morning to ask for it. The man who called me up to the counter wouldn’t take the tracking number I’d written down, or look at the message on my phone that said the package had been delivered. He turned and disappeared into the back – which was a mess of packages laying all over the floor – and when he came back 15 minutes later he said there was no package. 

I looked him in the eye and shoved the tracking number at him and said real nice but firm, “please check the tracking number.”

He was huffy but he took the slip of paper. This time he was gone for 10 minutes, but by Gumm, he brought me my package. I wanted to give him a piece of my mind but the line behind me was starting to go out the door, so I said Thank You! with a big shit-eating grin and got the hell out. 

My family has received Christmas packages that have been ripped open, stolen from, and taped back together, so I  guess I was lucky to get my package intact.

Now the book, mis-marked by a post office employee. I’m getting sick and tired of the level of service we get from public workers. We bought a house in Paradise in exchange for an old rental we sold in Chico. My son was living in it at the time of the fire, luckily he had gone to work before the fire had hit town, and was safe. I’m thankful for that, but dealing with the county in the aftermath hasn’t been the least of our worries.

We were quick to send in our ROE – Right of Entry – so the county could get going with the clean-up. I understand the clean-up will take a long time, but when we didn’t hear anything about our ROE, I e-mailed them asking if it had been received. A fellow named Matt called my husband a few days later in response to the e-mail, saying we needed to submit a new insurance declaration from our policy, the old one we sent had expired when our policy turned over recently. They knew that for over a month, but didn’t contact us until we inquired about it. Is that going on all over Paradise?

And then yesterday we received a packet, sent in a custom “Butte Recovers” envelope, with  custom stationery inside, a letter telling us how important it was to complete the ROE form. They had included the entire form, over half a dozen pages. The letter was not addressed to us, it was a form letter, so I’m guessing they sent one to each and every address that had burned in the fire. 

How much did that cost? At 50 cents a letter? I’m guessing at least a few thousand bucks. Not to mention the custom printed stationery. How about $taff time, folding all those papers and shoving them in those envelopes, then running them through the stamp machine?

Here’s the irony I’ll leave you with – the book I ordered – PLUNDER! How Public Employees are Raiding Treasuries, Controlling Our Lives and Bankrupting the Nation, by Steven Greenhut.

Think the post office workers knew what was in my package? 

I’ll describe Greenhut as a government watchdog, journalist, and public advocate. His articles have appeared in papers like the Orange County Register, LA Times, San Diego Union Tribune. This book was written in 2009 – before I started blogging about what’s going on in Chico, before I ever even heard of the pensions. So, it’s history for me, finding out exactly how public employees garnered their power and position. 

I’m calling this our BOOK IN COMMON, if you’d like to get a  copy, I bought mine used for 99 cents, cost $3.99 to ship. It’s in great condition, and so far I’ve enjoyed reading the forwards by Congressman Tom McClintock and Mark Bucher, who co-authored a late-nineties attempt at requiring unions to “at least ask members before using their money for politics…”

So come on along, learn some recent history, maybe find out what needs to be done to turn back the tide of entitlement that is drowning our state.