Raleigh, N.C. — The North Carolina Association of Educators appears to have won the latest round in an ongoing dispute over whether it can have its members' dues deducted directly from their paychecks.
In a letter dated Wednesday, State Controller Linda Combs says that the group can keep its payroll deduction privilege, despite not formally demonstrating it has 40,000 members as required by one law. That's because the group qualifies under a separate law that only requires organizations to have 2,000 members, a bar NCAE easily clears.
"Therefore, my office will continue to process payroll deductions for state employees who are members of NCAE, work within State agencies, and are paid through the BEACON Payroll System," Combs wrote.
There is a question, however, as to whether the organization will still be able to be able to automatically collect dues from its members who work for local school districts. Those workers make up the bulk of the organization.
Removing the ability to do automatic payroll deduction could hobble a group that relies on public-sector members for dues.
NCAE has often found itself at odds with legislative Republicans over school funding. In 2012, members of the state House held an unusual post-midnight veto-override session to ban NCAE from taking advantage of the automatic dues deductions. However, a court overturned that law.
Last year, Sen. Ralph Hise, R-Mitchell, challenged whether NCAE should keep its privilege. He pointed to the group's failure to cooperate with a state audit report that sought to verify its membership.