Last November, the Idaho Education Association was able to defeat at the ballot box three education reform laws it opposed with a large assist from the National Education Association. But even as it battles against a host of new bills, IEA is mired in disputes with its own employees.
IEA cut $700,000 from its budget this year – roughly 13% of the total – and the staff union feels its members took too much of the brunt. Despite the cuts, IEA is one of NEA’s more financially healthy state affiliates.
After failing to persuade management to cut elsewhere, the Idaho staff union sought, and obtained, sanctions against IEA from its parent, the National Staff Organization. IEA has been declared a “hostile work environment” and NEA state affiliate employees nationwide are being advised not to seek work at IEA, nor agree to voluntarily work on special campaigns in the state as part of the national UniServ’s shared staffing program.
There have been labor-management brush fires in a lot of NEA state affiliates amid budget cuts, layoffs and early retirement buyouts, but so far the union has avoided any strikes or major job actions.