Editorial

N.C. Republican lawmakers have a setback in court over law on teachers’ dues

January 19, 2013 

What an ugly piece of lawmaking it was, last January, when Republican legislators, angry because some teachers had criticized their education budget, acted in the dead of night to prohibit the teachers from having their N.C. Association of Educators dues automatically deducted from their paychecks. The action was nothing more than high-handed revenge, something that was clear when Republicans accidentally left the microphones on in a meeting room and House Speaker Thom Tillis was heard to say of the move, “We just want to give them a little taste of what’s to come.”

Republicans thus answered the question: Just how petty can they be?

Now Wake County Superior Court Judge Paul Gessner has ruled that the law was retaliation against teachers, and ordered that it could not be enforced.

Anticipating, probably correctly, that GOP lawmakers will try something new to make sure the revenge stays in place, the NCAE has advised members to pay their dues through bank drafts, something lawmakers presumably can’t do anything about.

The law was passed about 1 a.m. after a session called by Gov. Beverly Perdue on another issue.

New to their control of the General Assembly, Republicans used the occasion to pay back a teachers’ group that has indeed traditionally aligned itself with Democrats.

Of all the groups to take on, the teachers were the worst choice for different reasons. One, there are a lot of them. Two, they’re underpaid and overworked as it is. Three, the NCAE is hardly a union in the traditional sense, as it calls no strikes, etc. And in fighting for more money for education, the organization is hardly showing radical tendencies.

The best thing for GOP leaders in the General Assembly to do would be to let this just pass. But don’t count on it.

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