NEA Membership Losses by Category

I’ve been reporting NEA membership numbers as soon as I’ve gotten hold of them and while I still can’t publish dependable state-by-state breakdowns, I do have a fairly comprehensive set of national losses for each category of membership over the past year. These are a couple of months old, but membership numbers don’t fluctuate very much during the school year.

The first category is active certified. This includes working teachers, guidance counselors, speech pathologists and the like. The losses are:

Full-time – down 57,214

Part-time – down 3,428

Active Life – down 243

“Active Life” is a remnant of NEA’s pre-union days when you could pay one flat amount and be a member for life. There has been a total loss in active certified of 60,885 members. In the current school year, full-time active certified pay $178 in dues while part-timers pay $99. So these figures constitute a loss of $10,523,464 for NEA.

The second category is active ESP. This includes working support employees such as bus drivers, cafeteria workers, custodians and the like. The losses are:

Full-time – down 9,661

Part-time – down 5,456

That’s a total loss of 15,117 members. Full-time ESPs pay $106.50 in national dues while part-timers pay $63.50. These figures constitute an additional $1,375,352 in losses.

The third category is students, who pay NEA $15 annually. NEA is down 14,491 students this year for a loss of $217,365.

The fourth category is retirees. There are two ways to enlist – one is to pay $200 and become a retired life member. The other way is to pay $25 annually.

Retired life – up 5,779

Retired annual – down 2,943

The retired life members added $1,155,800 to NEA’s revenues this year – but the total number of 192,778 NEA retired life members will provide no further revenues to the union for the rest of their lives. The retired annual losses reduce NEA’s income by $73,575.

That’s it for dues categories. If you further disaggregate the active members by type of employment, you find NEA gained 1,288 members in higher education but lost 882 administrators.

Crunch these all together and you get a total loss of 87,251 members and $11,033,456. The effect on NEA’s national operations is significant, but it’s a bigger blow to the state affiliates, who each lost on average 1,700 members. And each member, even in the lower-end affiliates, contributes hundreds of dollars in state dues.

There are a lot of contentious issues on the education and labor fronts these days, but after elections and policies mow through them, be prepared for teacher hiring and rehiring to elevate to the top of the education debate.