Labor Union

California Teachers Association (CTA)

Website:

www.cta.org/en/About-CTA/Leadership.aspx

Location:

BURLINGAME, CA

Tax ID:

94-0362310

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(5)

Budget (2017):

Revenue: $199,767,162
Expenses: $174,186,186
Assets: $296,640,471

Formation:

1863

President:

Eric C. Heins

Executive Director:

E. Toby Boyd

The California Teachers Association (CTA) is the largest state affiliate of the left-of-center National Education Association (NEA) and the largest teachers’ union in California. [1] Former CTA executive director Carolyn Doggett has stated in numerous speeches that the CTA was created solely for the purpose of engaging in politics, promoting the implementation of left-of-center policy on education. [2]

Established in 1863 by educator John Swett, the union gained collective bargaining power upon enactment of the 1975 Rodda Act. CTA is considered California’s most powerful special interest organization, commanding assets of $334 million from dues paid by its 309,000 members and grants from the NEA. [3] [4] The union has spent hundreds of millions of dollars advancing its agenda through ballot measures, candidates, political parties, and lobbying. [5]

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the CTA has fought for continued school lockdowns, denouncing the slothful reopening plan of Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom as unacceptably aggressive. [6]

Background

History

The California Teachers Association (CTA) was founded in 1863 following a state teachers’ convention led by American educator John Swett, who became California State Superintendent of Education the previous year. [7][8] Originally established as the California Educational Society, the organization became known as the California Teachers Association in 1911. [9]

CTA considers the passage of the “free school” bill in 1866, written by then-State Superintendent Swett, as its first major accomplishment, with the establishing free public schools for California schoolchildren. [10] Using language written by Swett, at the behest of the CTA, the California Constitutional Convention of 1878-1879 enshrined “Blaine Amendment” language into the state constitution that explicitly banned the use of public funding for any religious or otherwise sectarian schools. [11]

The union gained its power in 1975 when then-Governor Jerry Brown (D) signed the Rodda Act that gave CTA members collective bargaining powers. [12]

As of August 31, 2019, the CTA had 304,349 active members at its 981 local affiliates in California. [13] The CTA is the largest state affiliate of the National Education Association. [14]

CalSTRS

Established in 1913 under state law, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) is the pension program for the state’s 650,000 active and 300,000 retired public school educators from pre-kindergarten through community college. [15] [16] A January 2021 job posting for a new chief executive officer stated that CalSTRS has an approximate operating budget of $365 million and 1,240 staff, and claimed that its $275 million fund is the world’s largest pension fund for educators and the second largest pension fund overall in the United States. [17]

A 2019 analysis of CalSTRS’s estimated obligations and asset value showed an unfunded liability of $107.3 billion, a gap that has grown by more than $84 billion since 2008. [18] [19]

Finances

California Teachers Association received its tax exemption as a 501(c)(5) nonprofit corporation on December 1, 1976. [20] In 2018, CTA reported total revenues of $209,018,052, total expenses of $174,698,889, and total assets of $334,494,349. [21] CTA lists 509 employees and a governing body of 27 voting members. Its highest paid employee in 2018 was Carlos S. Moreno, an associate executive director and controller, whose total compensation was $1,017,646. [22]

CTA’s primary revenue source is membership dues and fees, followed by funding from its parent organization, the National Education Association. In 1028, CTA reported $190,652,985 in membership dues and $4,853,021 in grants from the NEA. [23] The union’s projected 2020-2021 budget is $207.4 million, funded by dues of $737 per member. [24]

CTA’s primary expenses are generally split between direct employee support, such as salaries and wages, pensions, and other employee benefits, and program support. Spending on program support includes political advocacy initiatives to influence state policy and local service delivery, through which the CTA helps local chapters with collective bargaining. [25] In 2018, CTA reported spending $19,669,033 on funding for state initiatives and $33,274,819 on local service delivery. [26]

Funds

CTA has maintains a number of funds that it uses for political purposes, funded by dues and contributions from its members. [27]

The Political Allocation Fund supports CTA’s political action committee, which makes contributions to political candidates and campaigns. [28] Member contributions are voluntary, but teachers have to check an opt-out box on CTA’s membership form in order to prevent their contributions from being used in support of the political action committee. [29] According to CTA’s 2018-2019 annual report, the Political Allocation Fund had a balance of $879,156 on August 31, 2019. [30]

The Independent Expenditures Fund spends member contributions on left-of-center political candidates who align with CTA’s values and advocacy agenda without coordination from either of the two major political parties. [31] [32] Members must also opt out from contributing to this fund. [33]

CTA established the Initiative Fund specifically for the union’s participation in supporting or opposing certain ballot measures. [34] Each working CTA member contributes $36 per year to this fund. [35] The Initiative Fund collects nearly $10 million annually, rolling unspent funding into following years. The CTA Initiative Fund had $23.7 million to spend on ballot initiatives in the 2020 election cycle. [36]

The Public Information Program Fund, or “Media Fund,” goes toward advertisements to inform the public about CTA achievements and public education problems from preschool through graduate school. [37] Working CTA members contribute $16 per year to the Media Fund. [38] This fund also tends to accumulate more money than it spends, reporting a balance of $7,175,272 at the end of CTA’s 2018 fiscal year. [39]

Funded by voluntary $20 annual contributions by working members, the CTA Advocacy Fund promotes left-of-center policies to “to improve and fight back against attacks on public education,” including opposing school choice initiatives. [40] [41]  CTA directs half of the contributions made to the Advocacy Fund to the CTA Institute for Teaching, a project that “provides scholarships to members and supports teacher-led efforts to improve public schools.”

Corporate Structure

California Teachers Association’s 2019 tax filing lists 509 employees and a governing body of 27 directors. [42] As of August 31, 2019, the union reported 304,349 active members and 981 local affiliate unions. [43] CTA’s statewide membership elects delegates to its 731-member State Council of Education, which in turn elects CTA’s directors and executive officers. [44] The CTA State Council of Education is the organization’s top governing body. [45] The CTA advises local affiliates on contract negotiations, grievances, and political action campaigns. [46]

Caucuses

The CTA State Council of Education and Board of Directors are advised and lobbied on issues concerning CTA members by 15 CTA caucuses. These caucuses include bodies such as the “BadAss Teachers” (BATS) Caucus and the Zumba® Fitness Caucus. [47]

Political Activity

Carolyn Doggett, who was CTA’s executive director from 1995-2013, stated that the CTA was created solely for the purpose of engaging in politics. [48] Doggett told the State Council of Education on the CTA’s 150th anniversary in January 2013 that CTA was “founded for one reason and one reason only and that was to engage in politics.” [49]

Following the enactment of the Rodda Act in 1975, which gave legislative protection to the union’s collective bargaining efforts, CTA began to direct teachers’ voting strategies effectively to hand-pick their own district supervisors and to use teacher strikes as political weapons in support of left-of-center education policy. [50]

CTA spends members’ mandatory dues on political advocacy initiatives. [51] From January 1, 2000 through December 31, 2009, CTA spent nearly $212 million to influence California voters and public officials, more than the money spent by the pharmaceutical, oil, and tobacco industries combined. [52] [53] Of that total spending, more than $173 million went towards ballot measures, candidates, political parties, and other campaign committees, while the union spent an additional $38.5 million on lobbying political officials. [54] In 2019, CTA had an estimated $40 million available to advance its agenda in the 2020 election cycle. [55]

Proposition 98

In 1988, CTA supported the passage of Proposition 98. [56] The amendment to California’s constitution guaranteed that 40% of the state’s annual budget would be allocated to public K-12 and community college education. [57] The CTA co-sponsored the measure and spent $4.5 million—about $50 per member—to promote its passage. The measure eventually passed by just 135,000 votes out of the 8.7 million votes cast. [58]

School Choice

CTA funded opposition to ballot proposals to implement a school voucher system in both 1993 and 2000. Both proposals failed. [59]

In 1993, Proposition 174 sought to give California families universal access to school vouchers, which would provide families with public funding to be used for tuition payments at private schools. [60] CTA outspent the proposal’s supporters 8-to-1, spending $12.5 million in opposition to the measure. CTA also persuaded then-California Secretary of State March Fong Eu (D) to change the proposition’s title from “Parental Choice” to “Education Vouchers”, which caused a 10-point drop in public support. [61] CTA spent $26 million to oppose Proposition 38 on the 2000 ballot. [62]

2005 Special Election

In 2005, then-California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) called a special election that included ballot initiatives on spending caps, teacher tenure, and union political fundraising. [63]

Proposal 74 would have lengthened the pre-tenure probation period for teachers from two years to five. [64] Proposal 75 would have required that labor unions receive members’ written permission to use their dues for political campaigns. [65] Proposal 76 would have set limits on state spending and relaxed the education spending requirements imposed by Proposition 98. [66]

CTA spent $58 million to defeat the three ballot initiatives, an amount so steep that the union had to refinance its headquarters and add $180 to each member’s annual dues for the next three years. [67] [68] CTA also gave $20 million to the Alliance for a Better California, which used the funds to help defeat the same proposals. [69] [70]

Non-Education Causes

CTA campaign spending supports left-of-center causes that are not directly related to education. CTA has opposed ballot proposals that would limit the government’s power of eminent domain, restrict government ability to impose rent controls, and require healthcare practitioners to notify parents when a minor receives an abortion. [71] In 2008, CTA spent $1.3 million to fight Proposition 8, a ban on state recognition of same-sex marriage that won with 52.2% of the vote, though it was later overturned by court action. [72] The union has also become a significant contributor to the California Democratic Party, giving the state party more than $113.4 million from 2003 to 2020. [73] [74]

Issue Advocacy

CTA lists charter schools, immigration reform, school safety, and social justice as its advocacy issues and manages several ongoing campaigns on the issues. [75]

Social Justice

CTA explains on its website that social justice issues make educators responsible for the collective good of society, claiming that the role of educators is to “eradicate structural and institutional racism, classism, linguicism, ableism, ageism, heterosexism, religious bias, and xenophobia.” [76]

CTA has supported a number of left-of-center initiatives, including Black Lives Matter at School, Confronting White Nationalism, and Addressing the “isms,” through its online resources, posters, videos, and shareable content. [77]

Campaigns

Red for Ed is an National Education Association campaign to advance teacher demands for left-of-center policy implementation, particularly in states with Republican legislatures. [78] [79] The Red for Ed campaign mobilized in California in 2019, as members of CTA union locals demonstrated on behalf of teachers in Oakland and Sacramento who were threatening to strike in support of higher pay and in opposition to planned school closures. [80] [81]

CTA launched its “Kids Not Profits” campaign in 2016 as an assault on California’s growing charter school movement. [82] CTA claims that the campaign is needed to expose a “coordinated agenda” allegedly organized by a group of billionaires to divert money from public schools to privately-managed charter schools, weed out and turn down students with special needs, and spend millions of dollars to influence local, legislative and school board elections. [83] The campaign began with a website and radio ads in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento. [84] [85]

COVID-19

Lockdowns ostensibly enacted due to COVID-19 pandemic have meant that most of California’s six million students who attend the state’s 10,000 public schools have been forced to endure online learning since March 2020. [86] In January 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) broke ranks with the CTA, which had been advocating for continued school shutdowns, and introduced a proposal offering schools $2 billion for testing and protective gear to reopen California schools. [87] [88] CTA criticized Newsom’s plan and sent him a letter demanding that all teachers be vaccinated before schools reopen. Gov. Newsom called the CTA’s demand unrealistic. [89] [90]

People

Toby Boyd was elected in March 2019 as CTA president, following the abrupt dismissal of longtime executive director Joe Nunez. [91] Prior to becoming president, Boyd was a CTA board member and kindergarten teacher in the Elk Grove Unified School District near Sacramento. [92]

Joe Nunez was the CTA executive director from 2013 to 2019, following his position as CTA’s chief lobbyist in which he was considered one of California’s top political players and power brokers. [93]

References

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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: August - July
  • Tax Exemption Received: December 1, 1976

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2017 Aug Form 990 $199,767,162 $174,186,186 $296,640,471 $70,468,477 N $0 $190,349,226 $4,566,545 $2,998,393 PDF
    2016 Aug Form 990 $190,016,699 $185,556,381 $260,496,068 $69,723,755 N $0 $183,118,404 $4,090,164 $3,092,481
    2015 Aug Form 990 $186,070,490 $174,655,722 $245,708,878 $68,118,666 N $0 $176,530,186 $3,700,625 $2,776,535 PDF
    2014 Aug Form 990 $187,154,735 $162,184,619 $237,795,163 $62,444,889 N $0 $176,178,238 $2,913,207 $2,601,442 PDF
    2013 Aug Form 990 $183,178,990 $179,797,907 $202,656,856 $61,476,094 N $0 $176,822,188 $3,097,619 $2,792,191 PDF
    2012 Aug Form 990 $185,809,971 $167,074,894 $199,723,197 $61,323,245 N $0 $178,741,126 $2,806,054 $2,367,205 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    California Teachers Association (CTA)

    1705 MURCHISON DR
    BURLINGAME, CA 94010-4504