1) New Disclosure Reports for NEA
Affiliates in New York, Florida, Michigan and Ohio.
NEA's financial disclosure report continues to receive massive coverage from
both the mainstream media and the blogosphere. But there are similar reports
for many other teachers' unions available. EIA has already analyzed the
American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Education
New York State United Teachers, NEA Rhode Island, Maine Education
Association and Pennsylvania State Education Association.
Now we have another handful of reports,
this time from NEA New York, Florida Education Association, Michigan
Education Association, and Ohio Education Association.
* NEA New York – This affiliate's
annual disclosure report has for a long time illustrated its financial
plight. This one was no exception. NEA New York took in less than $9.5
million in dues in 2004-05, but it spent $7.8 million on salaries and
benefits alone. That was actually a big improvement over previous years. The
union also experienced a "demographic" shift over the years that may have
implications for other NEA state affiliates. NEA New York finished the year
with 39,622 total members, but of these only 20,510 were full-time active
professionals – that is, teachers, guidance counselors, et al., who pay the
highest level of dues.
NEA New York President Robin Rapaport
was the highest paid elected officer at
$122,847, while the highest paid staffer was General Counsel
Janet Axelrod at $135,226.
* Florida Education Association –
FEA took in nearly $19.2 million in dues in 2004-05, and was still owed
$70,000 by its Escambia affiliate, and $1.5 million by the United Teachers
of Dade in the aftermath of the
Tornillo scandal. Both of these loans are more than 180 days past due.
The state organization also spent $161,760 on an organizing project in
Miami-Dade, in an effort to rebuild membership levels in the wake of the
Tornillo arrest. The union has 118,197 active members. FEA President Andrew
Ford received $122,320 in 2004-05, plus $28,159 in allowances. The highest
paid employee was Chief of Staff Aaron Wallace at $126,878.
* Michigan Education Association
– MEA took in $64.3 million in dues in 2004-05, but paid out a whopping
$21.9 million in employee benefits alone. Fortunately for the union, it
received a substantial amount of additional income, including $4.8 million
from MESSA, the union's health insurance subsidiary. Almost 10 percent of
NEA's total education support employee membership comes from Michigan alone.
MEA has 92,207 active professional members and 38,675 education support
MEA President Lu Battaglieri was the
organization's highest paid officer at $181,902, while Executive Director
Charles Anderson was the highest paid employee at $169,521.
* Ohio Education Association –
OEA is yet another NEA state affiliate with staff benefit problems. The
union took in $49.3 million in dues in 2004-05, but spent more than $23.7
million in staff benefits. OEA and its retired staffers are at loggerheads
over health benefits, and the union even
sued its own staff unions last year over retiree representation. OEA has
about 104,000 active professional members and 14,500 education support
OEA President Gary Allen may be
deferring a large part of his salary, or there may be another explanation
for why he received $119,521 in 2004-05, but Vice President Patricia
Frost-Brook received $184,657 and Secretary-Treasurer William Leibensperger
received $132,922. Executive Director Dennis Reardon was OEA's highest paid
employee at $153,937.
OEA's disclosure report also reveals
advocacy spending similar to that seen in the NEA report. Here are the
expenditures that EIA was able to identify:
Education Tax Policy Institute - $13,000
* Equity and Adequacy Coalition - $5,000
* Ohio Federation of Teachers - $13,600
for "Charter Schools Coalition member mailing"
Ohio Fair Schools Campaign - $10,000
* Ohioans for Fiscal Responsibility -
ACORN Institute - $5,000
Coalition for Public Education - $10,000
Bring Ohio Back - $48,000
Reform Ohio Now - $12,000
* New York State United Teachers -
$5,959 for "external education policy."
There are few teacher union affiliates
remaining who need to submit these reports. The Landrum-Griffin Act only
applies to labor unions that have at least some members working in the
private sector. Most NEA affiliates are composed entirely of public sector
2) Merged New York Union Will Be
Called NYSUT. As the proposed merger between NEA
New York and the AFT-affiliated New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) moves
closer to fruition, EIA has learned that the new, merged organization will
be called – New York State United Teachers.
The assimilation of NEA New York will
complicate the new organization's dues structure for the next 10 years.
Current NEA New York members will have their dues frozen at their current
level for the first five years of the organization's existence, and then
they will increase at a reduced rate, so that the currently lower NYSUT dues
can catch up. However, it does mean that current NEA New York members will
be paying higher dues for the next 10 years than will their compatriots in
the same, merged organization.
3) Madison Local Wins Court Fight
Against Wisconsin NEA Affiliate. The First Circuit
Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Madison Teachers, Inc. in its
long-time dispute with its parent organization, the Wisconsin Education
Association Council (WEAC), over the local's affiliation agreement. A
consequence of the decision was WEAC's acquiescence in agreeing to a new
arbitrator to help the two organizations settle their differences over
jurisdictional issues and legal services payments.
4) Illinois "Pre-Retirement" Dues
Proposal Hard to Understand. When delegates to the
Illinois Education Association's (IEA) Representative Assembly meet in March
at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare, they will discuss and debate a bylaw amendment
that I freely admit I am too dense to make heads or tails out of.
Proposed Bylaw Amendment #1 will,
according to its rationale, "unify Active and Retired membership" within the
union. It takes the current 12-line definition of "retired member" and
quadruples it. It takes the current 17-line explanation of retired member
dues and expands it to more than 100 lines.
I do know this: if the amendment passes,
the dues of all IEA active members will increase $6 per year and they will
become "pre-retired subscribers" unless they take advantage of a 60-day
window to opt out – in writing. It seems to free the union from the chore of
getting active members to become retired members when they retire.
5) Morty Keeps Speaking the
Unspeakable. Morty Rosenfeld, president of the
Plainview-Old Bethpage Congress of Teachers in New York, has been a periodic
mainstay of this publication for
more than eight years. I admire Morty even when I strongly disagree with
him, simply because he doesn't have to consult a staff of PR specialists
before he tells you what he thinks about public education and his union.
Over the last few months, Morty has
written a series of editorials under the common title "Telling What We
Part I is here, and
Part II is here. The
latest installment takes on the issue of testing and, once again,
Morty's take isn't what you're hearing elsewhere.
"Railing against testing only earns
teachers more public mistrust," he writes. "Besides, if our nation's public
schools were doing better on them, we wouldn't be talking about how awful
they [the tests] are. If the public actually looked at some of the exams,
they would be shaken by the ridiculously low level at which students are
expected to perform."
He continues: "We've cautioned them
[members] to reject the false choice between solid test preparation and
stimulating, exciting classrooms. We easily can and should have both. We've
urged them to accept the fact that while all of the responsibility for the
performance of our students is not ours, we are the only ones likely to know
how to improve it and that we must do so not only because it is the
professionally correct thing to do, we must do it if the community we serve
is to trust us and take us seriously. Ultimately, we will be held
responsible for the poor performance of our students no matter how hard we
try to deny it."
I'm sure I haven't done Morty's career
any good by promoting his work, but he's a rare commodity and should be
widely recognized as such.
6) Scheduling Note.
Due to next Monday's Martin Luther King holiday, the next
issue of the EIA Communiqué will appear on Tuesday, January 17.
7) Quote of the Week.
"It is an unfortunate truth that most collective bargaining
laws were not passed to make the process fair; they were enacted to control
Maine Education Association President Rob Walker. I'm with you, Rob.
Let's get rid of those oppressive collective bargaining laws.