The local only union option continues to attract interest. Teachers in a northern Michigan school district recently voted two to one to break away from the state and national union and form their own independent bargaining organization. As reported by a local TV news affiliate, the president of the new Roscommon Teachers Association explained why so many of his colleagues took this unusual step:
“We’ve exercised the death penalty. We’re exercising our right to say, we’re your customer and we’re not buying you stuff anymore. I hope that’s the message they get,” said interim RTA president James Perialas.
Teachers and other education employees who belong to a union affiliated with the Colorado Education Association automatically contribute a portion of their dues to the NEA headquarters in Washington, D.C. ($166 per full-time member in 2010-11). As the Education Intelligence Agency reports in the latest edition of the Communique, it looks like that figure is going up again for the coming school year:
Beginning this year, NEA will collect a $20 special assessment from each active (meaning, working) member – up from $10 in previous years. In accordance with the union’s bylaws, only 60 percent of the roughly $40 million raised is directed to the [Ballot Measures/Legislative Crises] fund. The other 40 percent goes into the union’s Media Campaign Fund.
Though mutually supportive, the Media Campaign Fund money is disbursed to NEA state affiliates through a separate application process from the BMLC fund. However, while almost all of the BMLC fund is sent to state affiliates, only 20 percent of the Media Campaign Fund leaves Washington, DC. The remainder is kept by NEA for national media projects, as well as distribution to a handful of media partners.
Unless NEA is cutting back its dues appropriations to other areas — highly unlikely — that means at least a $10 increase for teachers this year. As the Communique reports, some of that money goes to Media Matters for America, which describes itself as a:
progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.
Do Colorado teachers believe that is the best use of their dues money — which for many CEA/NEA members totals more than $750 a year?
The Education Intelligence Agency’s Mike Antonucci highlights some news from Iowa: teachers in the Earlham and Moravia school districts recently decertified their unions, so they are no longer affiliated with the National Education Association or Iowa State Education Association. The non-union Professional Educators of Iowa noted that it was the first time two districts in the state had decertified in the same week or even in the same year.
The event certainly isn’t a first, nor is it isolated to the state of Iowa. Learn more about the local-only union option here on our Independent Teachers website.
Member of a local teachers union in Colorado? Then most likely (unless you belong to the AFT) $166 of your dues this year is going straight to National Education Association headquarters in Washington, D.C. What is some of your money used for — when not funding negative political ads during election season, that is?
Speaking of “How much does NEA spend on politics?”, read the following release on the union’s habit of spending large sums of teacher dues on that annoying negative political advertising (click on “Fullscreen” for the easiest read):
Well, now CTEN founder and president Larry Sand has been splashed onto the pages of Townhall magazine (PDF). We couldn’t resist the opportunity to send them a big Kudos for their great work and to let Mr. Sand know just how good his picture makes him look, sitting next to Rob “Meathead” Reiner.
We are in the midst of a very divisive and controversial debate in our nation over legislation that would greatly expand the role of government in providing health insurance. If you were a full-time member of the National Education Association (NEA) through joining your local teachers union, then you sent money during the 2007-08 school year to support the current proposal from Congress and President Obama to promote socialized medicine.
According to the latest disclosure report filed with the U.S. Department of Labor, NEA gave $500,000 in 2007-08 to the group Health Care for America Now, a 501c4 political organization that is backing President Obama’s health care plan. (It is likely that NEA has made further contributions to this group since 2007-08, since NEA is listed as being a member of the HCAN steering committee.)
Current union members sent $158 in dues to the NEA during the 2008-09 school year. The amount will be $162 for 2009-10.
Hey, NEA member, aren’t you glad they asked your opinion first? … What, you mean they didn’t?
You can get a refund of the political money taken from your paycheck that goes to CEA ($39) and many local unions (up to $24), but the NEA money (which takes many political forms, but doesn’t go directly to candidates) is completely non-refundable.