[Vision2020] Dorman Does Washington (D.C. that is)

J Ford privatejf32 at hotmail.com
Sat Jan 20 14:15:43 PST 2007

A friend of mine just sent me this...another story of one of our own doing 

Justices review case of union money use

WARDEN -- When Angie Dorman traveled to Washington, D.C. to watch a
U.S. Supreme Court hearing affecting non-union workers, the justices
seemed to have her best interest in mind.

Dorman, a social studies teacher at Warden High School, attended a hearing
for Washington versus Washington Education Association Jan. 10.

The case stems from a 1992 voter-approved initiative specifying unions
must receive permission from non-union employees before spending their
fees on political action. The education association appealed to the
Washington Supreme Court, which overturned the initiative. The U.S.
Supreme Court heard the case on Jan. 10. A decision could be made in May
or June:

Non-union employees must
currently opt-out if they do not
want their fees to go toward
political causes.
"I think that the decision is going
to come against the (Washington
Education Association), and I think
that the Washington state
Supreme Court's (ruling is) going
to be overturned, but you know, I
don't know," Dorman said. "But in
that sense, I trust the justices
whichever way it turns out."

Dorman said the Evergreen
Freedom Foundation paid for her
trip through a grant, and she was
not required to do anything for the
organization in return. The group is
supporting the U.S. Supreme Court

She said she made certain before accepting the money her free
speech rights would not be affected.

"I always speak my mind," she said.

Dorman said the issue before the court is one of campaign reform and First
Amendment rights.

Washington Education Association President Charles Hasse said when
Initiative 134 first passed in 1992, the education association tried to 
the new law, but it was vague and poorly written. The law did not clearly
define what constituted a political purpose, Hasse said.

Some argue the case is about individuals being forced to contribute to
political causes against their will, he said.

"The state Supreme Court found that there is no evidence or argument that
people are being compelled against their will," he said.

Hasse noted teachers have no choice but to contribute to the state's
retirement system.

"That money is invested in the private sector," he said. "I can't opt out, 
alone have an opt-in provision for their political spending. So we're 
'look, you've got to treat everybody the same.'"

If the education association loses, Hasse said he is confident the case 
go back to the state Supreme Court to work out the technical details.
The U.S. Supreme Court is not known to be union-friendly, he said.

"On the other hand, we were very pleased that they didn't seem to have any
interest in the arguments that were made by some that this case was about
more than the technical issues involving somewhere between 3,000 and
4,000 agency fee payers of the Washington Education Association," Hasse

Northwest Professional Educators Association Executive Director Cindy Omlin
said the initiative is intended to support the First Amendment rights of 
workers. The court justices seemed to recognize that, she said.

"It was remarkably favorable for the protection of the civil liberties of 
individual workers," Omlin said.

The association is a non-union educator organization of which Dorman is a

Dorman said the trip to Washington D.C. was once-in-a-lifetime. Walking
into the courtroom, she thought about all the important cases heard in the
same room, including Brown versus Board of Education.  She said she is 
to hear any justice opinions siding with the education association.

J  :]

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