Laying Low While The Dust Settles…

Yeah…this is kind of a thing.

Yesterday was a pretty interesting day.

After the ruling in the Janus Case came down, my phone buzzed nearly continuously. A large number of my friends, people who knew that I had been involved in the case, sent messages to be relatively congratulatory. Some people, also friends…less so. Despite having known about the case, and being generally supportive…once the ruling came down, and media ran with various interpretations of what it meant, a good number of those friends basically told me to get stuffed.

I want to be clear here. I did not have any choice as to whether I wanted to be part of a Union when I started working twenty years ago. Over those two decades, I have paid literally thousands of dollars into UTLA’s accounts, directly from my paycheck. In many cases, that money was used to actively support school board candidates in opposition to a candidate that I was campaigning for, and to oppose student plaintiffs in court. Students that I supported the rights of through involvement in their cases, DIRECTLY.

That’s the dog that I had in this fight, and I stand by that particular dog.

Now that this decision has come down, they’re going to have to come out and sell a product, if you will, and they will have to prove to the individuals that there is a definite benefit for being part of the union. That’s it. That’s the immediate consequence of the decision.

If the product…the representation in this case…is GOOD, then there is nothing to really worry about. People stay with a good product, a solid service.

The immediate effect is that the state (in my case California) can no longer automatically take the Agency Fees out of the Non-Members’ checks on behalf of the Union. Another collection method will have to be set up for that small percentage of individuals within UTLA.

But let’s be pretty fair at the outset…this case didn’t just happen, nor did the legal groundwork just start. California’s public employee unions, for decades some of the state’s towering political giants, knew this day was coming.

Being a political juggernaut, the Public Sector Unions have been hard at work in legislation, supporting various bills in California. Several of these bills are currently pending in the legislature. Assembly Bill 2049 would give unions representing school support staff five days to review a worker’s request to cancel union payments — and labor leaders to determine whether the cancellation is appropriate. A similar plan, AB 1937, requires workers to contact the union and not their employer when canceling mandatory payments. There is an actual checklist distributed by the National Education Assn. with eight ways public-sector unions can regroup after the removal of agency fees. With years to prepare for a potential loss of income, there are measures in play.

I’ve said since the outset of the Friedrichs Case (Janus’ predecessor) that if the unions succeed in their mandate right NOW— convincing more state, local and school employees across California to become full-fledged members and thus VOLUNTARY make payments — the Supreme Court ruling could leave them not weaker, but stronger and more “in touch.”

That doesn’t change the sheer volume of people, especially in teaching, that are disowning me or just keeping a safe distance from me. Even some friends not in teaching have basically given me a “go take a hike, okay?” That sucks, for sure.

That’s pretty much what the art is about. It’s not like Victor and Cap were super close, but they each knew what the other was all about. It’s pretty cold for Vic to no only fail to give her some kind of old Doom Suit, but also to tell her to get lost. I’ve had a ton of that the past twenty four hours, and it’s pretty crummy.

It doesn’t make me regret standing up for something I actually believed would be an improvement to education, and honestly, an improvement for EVERYONE. It does highlight the fact that unlike in comics, standing up for something often has a kind of unexpected consequences or social fallout. That’s pretty real, and has pretty much happened any time that I’ve stood up for a cause in education.

In reality, there are two sides to every conflict. And even when we think we are definitely on the right side of an argument or a cause…to the other side, we are the villain of the story, the Bad Guy. Doctor Doom doesn’t think he’s the bad guy after all…he’s the heroic monarch of Latveria, consistently standing up for his nation. He just happens to be at odds with all of the people that are traditionally considered Good Guys.

You’d think he’d lend a suit out, with that in mind.

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