1) How Many State Affiliates Can NEA
Bail Out? When the National Education Association
Representative Assembly opens in two weeks, there will be much grumbling
from the delegates about the program and staff cuts associated with the
union's reorganization. But the complaints will be tempered by the
knowledge that a greater percentage of the national union's revenues will
filter back down to the state affiliates, where they are badly needed.
Even though NEA's budget is being cut,
total aid for state and local projects will increase by $5.6 million next
year, taking some of the edge off the corresponding budget cuts in the
union's affiliates. The larger questions are whether this sum is enough to
keep faltering ships afloat, and whether NEA itself can withstand the
increased demands for bailouts.
For many years, substantial membership
growth in strong union states such as New Jersey and Illinois was able to
compensate for perennial losses in Southern and other right-to-work states.
The relative stability of the high performers enabled NEA to bail out both
South Carolina without a major blow to its bottom line. NEA now faces
increased demand from weak affiliates without the surplus revenue from
strong affiliates. A look at two state affiliates, one with moderate and the
other with severe budget problems, will help illustrate.
Missouri NEA saw its active membership
drop to 27,837 members in the 2010-11 school year, with more, unspecified
losses this year. But a
$10 dues increase was able to mitigate the financial effect. MNEA took
in almost $7.8 million in state dues in 2010-11, and budgeted for under $7.7
million this year, and about $7.4 million next year.
That isn't too bad, but before the
recession hit, NEA had hopes of big things in Missouri, due to a 2007 state
supreme court ruling that allowed public school teachers to bargain
collectively. The independent
Missouri State Teachers Association is still the largest teacher
organization in the state.
Things are much worse for the Arizona
Education Association, which has seen its active membership drop to just
over 18,300 members this year - in a state with more than 50,000 teachers.
Its state dues income fell from $7.5 million to $5.4 million in a single
year, and the union is budgeting for less than $5.3 million in dues next
year. NEA aid peaked at almost $1.3 million in 2010-11, but AEA is planning
on less than half that amount for next year.
There are other NEA affiliates with less
margin for error - Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and now, Wisconsin,
spring to mind. If current trends continue, it makes one wonder whether more
mergers will be proposed, either with AFT affiliates or across state lines
with other NEA affiliates to form regional unions. Now that would be
2) Last Week's Intercepts.
Intercepts, covered these topics from June 12-18:
Invited to Address NEA Delegates. Is this a good idea for anyone
How to Get a Better Job by Filing a False Campaign Report. Maybe it's
part of the job description.
Staff Union Sanctions Tennessee and Oregon NEA Affiliates. For
The Case of the Naughty Superintendent. Public records request yields
too much information.
Have a Hanky Ready. Former union officer returns to classroom, gets
entire column devoted to how he misses the "glamour."
One decimal point placement error. Membership figures accurate.
Quote of the Week.
"[You can] read a story written by a Guild member, in a newspaper rung up by
a Guild member, while having coffee and a doughnut sold by yet another Guild
member." - Bill O'Meara, president of the Newspaper Guild of New York, after
60 Dunkin' Donuts workers were absorbed into the union. (May 30