In Colorado, teachers have the choice to belong or not to belong to various membership organizations. Most teachers belong to the Colorado Education Association (CEA). But in a handful of districts, a union that belongs to the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is the bargaining agent. No place in our state is this more prominent than in Douglas County — where thousands of teachers and other school district employees pay dues to AFT.
Mike Antonucci of the Education Intelligence Agency recently combed through AFT’s official federal disclosure for 2008-09 and found a host of interesting contributions made by the organization with members’ dues money. In lieu of looking at the full list, here’s some highlights of AFT’s 2008-09 contributions:
- ACORN (national and Maryland) $46,894
- Center for American Progress (liberal think tank) $10,000
- Colorado WINS (state employees union — includes money paid through SEIU) $819,818
- Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate $500,000
- Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network $10,000
- Health Care for America Now! (pro-Obama Care lobbying group) $125,000
- National Council of La Raza $10,000
- Rainbow PUSH Coalition (Jesse Jackson) $25,000
AFT members cannot opt out of supporting these or any contributions. Here’s guessing union leaders didn’t poll the membership of professional teachers and others before deciding to give away millions of dollars on various political projects and causes.