1) NEA to Spend $1 Million on NCLB Reauthorization
Agenda. Expect a lot of paid media, lobbying, and other assorted
activities from the National Education Association concerning the
reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act. The NEA board of directors
approved a $1 million expenditure from the union’s contingency fund in
support of implementing “NEA’s
2) Only Seven Percent of NEA Members Contribute to
Union’s PAC. NEA took in more than $343 million last year, so it has
ample funds to spend whatever it likes on lobbying and independent political
expenditures espousing its issues. However, its political action committee –
the NEA Fund for Children and Public Education – is bound by the same rules
and restrictions as any other PAC. The union has to solicit contributions
one at a time from its members. Recent information suggests this is a tough
NEA ranked only 12th
in top PAC contributors to Democrats in the last election cycle at $1.6
million, even though it is by far the largest union in the United States. By
comparison, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, with
one-quarter of NEA’s membership,
contributed nearly $2.5 million to Democrats.
NEA is now urging its state
leaders to urge more members to contribute to the national PAC. The union
admits to only 7% member participation – many of these contribute in person
during NEA’s annual convention.
3) UniServ Reform? NEA has a task force to
study and make recommendations for changes in the UniServ program.
Established in 1970, the UniServ system is the means by which national NEA
and its state affiliates are able to hire labor professionals to cover even
the smallest locals and districts, providing them with someone to work on
contract negotiations, grievances, political action, and any other problems
beyond the capabilities of locals. In exchange for the UniServ funding,
states and locals agree to support national “program priorities.”
It’s doubtful that the task
force will make any sweeping changes to the program, but the recommendations
will be substantial enough that they will be submitted to the union’s
Representative Assembly in July for approval.
4) LM-2 Easy (?) Use Guide. EIA gets LOTS of
requests for union financial information that is now widely available
through the U.S. Department of Labor’s public disclosure web page. The
problem is accessing it without help from the Oracle at Delphi.
You can sail uncharted waters like Jason and the
Argonauts, or you can print out this handy reference guide whenever you feel
the urge to find out what your union spent on coffee services last year:
a) Use this link for the LM-2 access page:
(If, for some reason, the direct link doesn't work, go
http://union-reports.dol.gov/ and click on the Union Form LM-2 Search
link. If it still doesn’t work, it’s screwed up on their end. Try again
b) On the "Union or Trust Search" page, go to the box
next to "File Number" and type in the corresponding number for any one of
the following education labor unions:
American Federation of Teachers (national):
National Education Association (national):
Michigan Education Association: 512-840
Ohio Education Association: 512-490
NEA Rhode Island: 512-667
New York State United Teachers: 070-581
Illinois Education Association: 512-892
Pennsylvania State Education Association:
Florida Education Association: 542-234
Maine Education Association: 512-668
United Federation of Teachers (NYC): 063-924
AFT Pennsylvania: 530-716
Texas Federation of Teachers: 515-619
AFT Michigan: 516-183
then click the Submit button. This isn’t a
comprehensive list, but it includes the largest affiliates. If the union
you’re interested in isn’t listed, it probably does not have to file an
LM-2. Only unions with one or more private sector members have to file an
LM-2 (that may change, but the interpretation is a current court battle
between NEA and the Labor Department).
c) When the page comes up, the first line will contain
the most recent report. Click on the link just below “Fiscal Year,” which
will read 2006 Report, or 2005 Report, depending on whether the union has
submitted its report on time.
d) Wait, because chances are it’s a big file.
Let’s use a sample so you get an idea of how to look
for what. Clicking on the link in step a) gets us to the Union or Trust
Search page. We’ll input 063-924 in the file number box and click submit.
The result set comes up for Local 2, which is UFT. Its last submitted LM-2
is 2005. Click on 2005 Report.
A gigantic file comes up, and we can see on the first
page that it was submitted on December 22, 2006 – which is a little late to
be sending out your 2004-05 report, but never mind.
You can look through anything that interests you, but
there is some basic stuff is in Statement B (Receipts and Disbursements).
Line 36 shows UFT took in almost $97 million in dues and agency fees that
year. Lines 50-65 show the broad categories of union spending. Some of these
can be accepted at face value (benefits, per capita tax), others are more
open to interpretation (political activities and lobbying, union
Scrolling down to Schedule 11, we can see the payments
to officers. UFT President Randi Weingarten received $223,656 in gross
salary (the NYSUT report indicates an additional $18,593 from them). Column
F is disbursements for official business. Those are mostly travel and other
similar expenses. A few other UFT elected officers receive pay, but most
receive nothing from the union.
Schedule 12 lists payments to employees of UFT. They
are all listed in alphabetical order. The bottom of Schedule 12 totals these
payments up, so we can see that the UFT payroll was $27.5 million.
Schedule 13 shows membership counts and sub-categories.
UFT has almost 105,000 active members, 48,000 retired, and 5,500 agency fee
The remaining schedules itemize receipts and
expenditures from the broad categories listed in Statement B. This is where
you can find out who received what.
That’s it. Happy hunting.
5) The Internet Trembles. NEA is ready to
launch yet another web-based initiative, this one called the NEA Academy,
through which it plans to offer “on-line professional development and
Association related training via on-demand, live, and collaborative
The prototype is posted here.
NEA certainly has the resources and access to the
expertise to construct a viable Internet education service, but its
track record on such things is not a good one.
6) Call for Substitutes! The communiqué will be
on a short hiatus beginning in mid-February, but EIA is looking to fill the
gap on the daily blog, Intercepts, during my absence. Last time I
tried this, I solicited essays from a handful of loyal union readers, and it
worked out great (check out the entries for
March 21-24, 2006 in the blog archives).
This time I need a lot more material, and I’m throwing
it open to everyone! Here are the only ground rules:
* One essay per writer.
* No more than 250 words. I mean it. If it’s 251, it’s
* No profanity or anything I judge to be defamatory or
actionable in a strict legal sense.
Otherwise, you’re free to be as creative as you like.
Be pro-union, anti-union, or agnostic. Use your name or not. Of course,
I need to know who you are. Consider writing about
something that won’t be overtaken by events, since it won’t appear in print
for another 4-6 weeks.
This is what we libertarians call a mutually beneficial
exchange. I get quality content for my blog while away, and you get to
deliver your story/pitch/whatever to an audience on all sides of every
education and labor issue imaginable.
Oh, one more thing: If you submit something, note
somewhere that it’s a “substitute” essay. I get 250-word essays from people
everyday, and I don’t want to end up publishing private correspondence by
mistake. Send it to
firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for your help.
7) Scheduling Note. The next communiqué will
appear Tuesday, January 16.
8) Last Week's Intercepts.
Intercepts, covered these topics from December 18-January 8:
Gives Sturrup the Boot. Justice is swift when the union prosecutes, as
opposed to when it defends.
NEA/AFT Lay Siege to Washington Post? Intercepts a top ten
education blog? In the Washington Post?! Repent! The end is near!
the Skin Off the 3-D Onion. The rest of us get a resource the
unions have had for years.
An English Professor Defends Algebra. Richard Cohen, call your
Alexander Russo Gets It Right (I Think). Politicians (and policy people)
are from Mars. Educators (and their unions) are from Venus. Education
reporters (with notable exceptions) only understand Jovian. Result: a world
9) Quote of the Week.* "People take money every day for
things I would not do… there are people that are paid to be assassins.
Sometimes it’s just not worth the sacrifice you would have to make for the
money." – Metro Nashville Education Association President Jamye Merritt,
explaining why her union opposes performance pay. (January 7
*The quote gets a qualifying asterisk because of the
ellipsis in the original news story. No telling what Merritt said in the