A listening post monitoring public education and teachers’ unions.

Florida Education Association Delegates Shoot Down Automatic Dues Increase

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Oct• 24•16

No details on this one, but like NEA itself, most state affiliates prefer to have dues levels tied to growth in average teacher salary or some other formula so that increases do not have to be lobbied for and voted on year after year. United Teachers Los Angeles finally overcame that hurdle after years of trying.

A proposed amendment to the Florida Education Association constitution would have made dues increases automatic, but representatives to its delegate assembly voted it down. At least there is one victory for fiscal restraint.


Unions Account for 99.4% of Contributions to Keep Massachusetts Charter Cap

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Oct• 21•16

Question 2 would authorize 12 additional charter schools per year in Massachusetts and the unions have decided for some reason that this is their Thermopylae.

Through October 15 the No on 2 campaign has raised almost $13,434,000 of which more than 99.4% has come from labor unions. The vast majority of those contributions came from the two national teachers’ unions and their Massachusetts affiliates.

The Massachusetts Teachers Association leads the way with almost $6 million in cash and in-kind contributions so far – or about $53 per active member.

Its parent union, the National Education Association, chipped in with $5.4 million. The remaining union donations are as follows:

American Federation of Teachers – $1,000,000

AFT Massachusetts – $820,472

Lynn Teachers Union – $50,000

Boston Teachers Union – $49,550

United Teachers of Lowell – $30,000

Salem Teachers Union – $10,000

University of Massachusetts Faculty Federation – $5,000

Massachusetts AFL-CIO – $5,000

Massachusetts & Northern New England Laborers’ District Council – $5,000

Massachusetts Teachers Association Benefits Inc. – $1,437.55

International Union of Operating Engineers Local No.4 – $1,000

United Food & Commercial Workers Local 1445 – $500

Boston Carmen’s Union – $300

Massachusetts Library Staff Association – $100

Individual employees of unions – $2,107

While there might not be much more outside money coming in, the campaign still has more than $3.2 million on hand, and the Massachusetts Teachers Association still has $4 million more available that the union’s board of directors set aside for the campaign in May.


How NEA Brass Made Sure the Union Endorsed Clinton — Even If It Didn’t Want To

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Oct• 19•16

Click here to read.


Massachusetts Teachers Association Hires Temps to Do Union Work During Campaign

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Oct• 17•16

The Massachusetts Teachers Association is extremely committed to preventing 12 additional charter schools per year from opening in the state. It has authorized spending more than $9 million of its own money to defeat Question 2 on next month’s ballot and has successfully lobbied the National Education Association for almost $5 million more.

Along with this stack of cash, the union is also contributing manpower. With most of MTA’s regular staff lending their time and expertise to the No on 2 campaign, the union found itself short-handed for the mundane task of providing services to its members.

Fortunately for MTA, money is no object. The union appropriated $500,000 to hire temps to perform staff work until after Election Day.

Spending to employ non-union substitutes won’t show up on any campaign finance disclosure report, nor will agency fee-payers be reimbursed for their contribution to it, but it is political spending nonetheless. When you are mounting this kind of crusade there is no room for half-measures.


Some of My Best Friends Are Billionaires

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Oct• 14•16

From CNN Politics:

For Our Future, a new outside group set on avoiding duplication among traditional power players on the left, will report this weekend having collected millions from a new corps of donors, including unions representing steelworkers and letter carriers, the group told CNN Friday. Yet the biggest supporter remains Tom Steyer, the billionaire climate activist who was the Democratic Party’s top donor during the 2014 cycle.

Steyer has given $20 million to the organization through his personalized super PAC, NextGen Climate, and said in an interview Thursday that he did not plan to increase the size of that commitment in the coming weeks. Other top givers to the super PAC are Dustin Moskovitz, the Facebook co-founder who has stunned Democrats by injecting groups with $35 million out of nowhere, and his wife who together donated $5 million to For Our Future.

…The unions that joined the effort earlier have given more substantial amounts: AFSCME contributed $4.8 million; the American Federation of Teachers donated $4.1 million; the AFL-CIO gave $2.3 million; and the National Education Association handed over another $2.1 million.


Teachers’ Unions Decry “Outside Money” in Politics, But They’re the Source of a Lot of It

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Oct• 13•16

Click here to read.


Same Old Folks at the NEA Convention

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Oct• 12•16

Let me introduce today’s statistic by first repeating a post from October 20, 2015:

Two years ago, NEA discovered the delegates to its convention were, on average, 51 years old. Even worse, only 10 percent of them were under 35 years of age. This led to much handwringing and vows to create outreach programs to attract and train new union leaders.

Last year, convention delegates were, on average, 49 years old and 8 percent of them were under 35. More consternation followed, along with some nice brochures.

This year, the average age of a convention delegate was 50, and a whopping 2.7 percent of the assembly were under the age of 35.

I don’t have any suggestions on how to attract young public education employees to participate in the union, but I think that whatever NEA officers have been doing the last two years, they should consider doing the opposite.

Well, in 2016 NEA really put its shoulder to the wheel, and after much outreach and recruiting of new teacher union leaders, the results were plain. At the 2016 NEA convention, the average delegate was 49.3 years old. The share of delegates under the age of 35 was again 2.7 percent.

Young teachers aren’t going to participate in union governance in any great numbers unless they feel they can affect and alter the direction of the organization. Those in charge aren’t yet willing to let them do so.