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Let public employees break free of their freeloading unions

To the editor: The real "free riders" in the U.S. Supreme Court case Friedrichs vs. California Teachers Assn. are the unions themselves, not those teachers who choose not to join the union. ("Should nonunion teachers be forced to pay dues?," editorial, Jan. 11)

All teachers must initially pay full union dues as a condition of employment. If they choose to opt out, they can request about 30% of the full dues amount refunded annually.

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But let's be clear: The fee amount is controlled by the unions, which insists that it is a valid accounting used strictly for collective bargaining and not any political activity. Of course that becomes even murkier when the union is the one determining what constitutes political activity.

In effect, the plaintiffs in Friedrichs are helping to pay for the CTA lawyers arguing against them.

Vic Miranda, Agoura Hills

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To the editor: The print title reads, "They're not in the union, but pay anyway." It could also read, "They're not in the union, but get paid anyway."

Trust me: Without a union, we teachers might not even get paid a living wage. Yes, there are negative aspects to our union, but they beat the alternative of being at the mercy of school districts.

Kathy Kinnick, Chino

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To the editor: Without the activities of unions, teacher salaries would not keep up with inflation. School districts do not provide decent pay or other benefits out of the goodness of their hearts; teachers have to fight every year just to keep up.

Still, it is not right for teachers or anyone else to be forced to join a union. Nobody should be forced to pay for something with which they disagree. However, if a teacher wishes to opt out of the union, he or she should be willing to forego wage increases and other benefits that are negotiated in collective bargaining.

Currently a teacher in California must pay union dues but can request a refund for the portion of dues that pay for political activity. The rule should be expanded to allow a teacher to completely opt out of union dues while at the same time being denied the benefits of union negotiations.

Milt Rouse, Dana Point

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