INSIDE Chico State
0 December 9, 1999
Volume 30 Number 10
  A publication for the faculty, staff, administrators, and friends of California State University, Chico
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Commentary

Fair Share

Curses, foiled again! The union (California State Empoyees Association), with the passage of SB 645, has put an end to my evil plan to rise to incredible prosperity and luxury on the coattails of all my hardworking co-workers. At least that is how the union would characterize me and other non-union state workers when trying to justify the need for the "Fair-Share" taxation that will begin in January 2000.

Like many state employees, I feel myself wronged by this characterization and want to respond to Tom Alden's editorial in Inside Chico State dated November 11,1999. I came to Chico State two years ago this week. When I was hired, the first exposure to the union was a small brochure in the benefits packet. I was interested in the union and asked co-workers about CSEA. They were very positive about it. Yet when I asked for more details about the benefits of union membership the answers weren't very specific or compelling.

Oh well, thought I, I will wait until a union rep comes and cordially invites me to join, giving me a chance to ask a few questions before I band with others in a fight against injustice in the workplace. Well, I'm still waiting for the union to acknowledge that I even exist and am worthy of their attention.

This is my main point of contention. Why is CSEA spending their efforts and union funds getting a bill like SB 645 passed instead of actively selling the benefits of joining to potential members? Surely a membership drive would have generated more active volunteers and some good will. I doubt that the "Fair Share" bill will create much of either.

If, as I have been told, only 20 percent of state employees are now union members then the "Fair-share" bill will increase the union's budget by at least 320 percent. That is a conservative estimate. If the CSEA were seriously interested in eliminating a "free ride" they would drop the dues by a comparative amount to make union participation more attractive to potential members and to reward the faithful few who have been staunch supporters.

I did see a nice quote in the CSEA Web page at http://www.calcsea.org/csu/fightingfuture.htm under a heading of FAIRNESS it reads "Robbing Peter to pay Paul is no way to run the university." A wonderful sentiment, but the sincerity of CSEA is very suspect in light of the recent bill. It seems that the union's sense of fairness is as highly honed as the proverbial schoolyard bully, busy extorting milk money from classmates.

Is robbing Peter to pay Paul the way to run a union? That is exactly what SB 645 is. Will the additional funds make up for the loss of moral high-ground in negotiations with the state? I would have thought that the lesson had been learned by now. The ends do not justify the means. I have felt intuitively that the union is a good cause, but if the CSEA is so foolish as to suppose that they can maintain my rights by violating my rights, then they are not the right people to be representing any of us.

Thank You. -- Michael Quiner, User Services

 

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