Roscommon Teachers Secede from Michigan Education Association, Form Local-Only Union

Author: bdegrow  //  Category: Membership Options, National Education Association

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.

Read more…

National Educ. Assoc. Doubles Fee on All Member Teachers, Funds “Progressive” Media Group

Author: bdegrow  //  Category: National Education Association

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?

Two Local Iowa Teachers Unions Secede from NEA, State Affiliate in One Week’s Time

Author: bdegrow  //  Category: National Education Association

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.

A Good Value?: National Education Association Spends $13 Million on Assorted Advocacy Groups

Author: bdegrow  //  Category: National Education Association

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?

As he faithfully does every year, the Education Intelligence Agency’s Mike Antonucci hones in on NEA’s reported contributions, noting that in fiscal year 2009-10 it represents “more than $13 million to a wide variety of advocacy groups and charities to advocacy groups.” While Antonucci offers up the full list of 130 organizations, here’s a small alphabetically-sorted sample: Read more…

NEA Spends $1.9 Million in Teacher Dues on Negative Colorado U.S. Senate Election Ads

Author: bdegrow  //  Category: National Education Association

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):

Media Release 10-27-10 NEA Anti-Buck

So… “How Much Does NEA Spend on Politics?”

Author: bdegrow  //  Category: National Education Association, Political Contributions

Of course, the answer to the question is: Depends what you mean. Some issues to consider:

  • Are we talking about the national union headquarters, state union affiliates and/or local union offices?
  • Are we only discussing “PAC money” or all the kinds of independent expenditures that regular dues money may be spent on?
  • Are we looking at spending only on political candidates or on local and state ballot issues, too?
  • Are we including only direct campaign contributions, or also “member communications” on political topics?

No one understands how this all works better than Mike Antonucci from the Education Intelligence Agency, and he explains it well in his latest Communique. Bookmark for future reference.

California Teachers Empowerment Network Makes Big Splash in Townhall Magazine

Author: bdegrow  //  Category: National Education Association

A big “sister” group of Colorado Independent Teachers that continues to make a big splash on the West Coast is the California Teachers Empowerment Network — letting teachers in the Golden State know about their various membership options. You may remember the radio ad exposing the NEA’s agenda that they aired last fall.

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.

California Teachers Empowerment Network Responds On Air to NEA’s Bob Chanin

Author: bdegrow  //  Category: Membership Options, National Education Association

Remember the National Education Association’s Bob Chanin being a little bit too candid about the union’s priorities? Well, a “sister” group of ours on the West Coast, known as the California Teachers Empowerment Network, has released a new radio ad on KRLA in Los Angeles. Thought you’d like to take a listen to the one-minute spot:

Here’s where you can find the Citizens’ Commission on Civil Rights report (PDF) cited by CTEN president Larry Sand on the radio ad.

Should the NEA and AFT Teachers Unions Stop Sending Member Dues Money to ACORN?

Author: bdegrow  //  Category: National Education Association

If you are a member of the teachers union — whether the National Education Association or American Federation of Teachers — you may find this news disturbing:

Teachers unions have contributed over $1.3 million to ACORN and its affiliates, since 2005, according to U.S. Labor Department financial disclosure forms.

But there is no guarantee that the $1,333,112 million in donations from the National Education Association (NEA) and Teachers AFL-CIO unions are actually being used for their stated purposes, according to present and former Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now (ACORN) officials.

Some of the larger donations include $100,000 from the NEA in 2008 and $200,000 in 2007 for political activities. The Teachers AFL-CIO Local Union 2 contributed $406,730 in 2008, $457,778 in 2007, and $346,300 in 2006 for representational activities.

Now that ACORN staffers have been caught on video helping a man and woman posing as a pimp and a prostitute acquire illegal home loans to set up a brothel it is imperative that these organizations reconsider their support, said Ron Sykes, treasurer for ACORN’s Washington D.C. branch. [emphases added]

The U.S. Senate on Monday overwhelmingly voted to stop sending taxpayer money to ACORN. What are teachers unions going to do?

As always, it’s important to note — especially during this time of the school year — that all Colorado teachers have membership options.

National Education Association Spends Member Dues for Government Health Care

Author: bdegrow  //  Category: National Education Association

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.