The larger political publications don’t often take notice of what’s going on at NEA headquarters, but when there’s a picket line in front of the building, they head to their keyboards. Both the National Review and The New Republic have short articles on the soon-to-expire contract of NEA’s primary staff union, and both settle on seniority as the crux of the dispute. I suppose they’re to be forgiven for not knowing that NEA has been reducing staff by the score over the past two years.
Of course, one has to wonder why the staff union has an informational picket line. Everyone inside the building already has the information, and the picketers are less than forthcoming with everyone outside the building. This is all the staff union spokesperson had to say to TNR:
“When NEASO came to the bargaining table, we were ready to work together to help strengthen basic, core union values and defend NEA and its affiliates from political attacks. Shockingly, NEA has not approached these negotiations with the same attitude. They seem to have forgotten that we are on the same team. NEA’s talented staff is the key to NEA’s future. We must move forward together.”
A strike at NEA HQ would be an unmitigated PR disaster, so I expect management to cave to the staff’s demands, despite the budgetary situation. No point in tryng the man the parapets if your own men are burning down the citadel.