16. Joe Nuñez
It’s been a challenging year for Joe Nuñez, the executive director of the California Teachers Association. In June, the SCOTUS ruled in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees that public unions such at the CTA cannot charge nonmembers for representing them. That means a loss of 23,000 payees, the CTA estimates. The union moved to cut its 2018-19 budget by $20 million. It does not plan to cut its staff of 435, but it will leave some vacant positions unfilled. But CTA, with 325,000 members, is still huge and remains one of the most potent political forces in the state. Nuñez comes from humble beginnings — he was the ninth of 11 children of farmworker parents. He served as a teacher for two decades, and in 1990 led a monthlong strike by the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District Faculty Association. He joined the CTA in 1995 and served on the State Board of Education for six years.
Updated Aug. 15, 2018