But we were pulled apart because her mom did not agree
And tore apart our happy home in Memphis, Tennessee
– Chuck Berry, “Memphis, Tennessee” 1959
The Memphis-Shelby County Education Association (MSCEA) held a representative assembly last evening, and it appears there will be no backing down from its de facto disaffiliation from the Tennessee Education Association and NEA.
This is significant because MSCEA constitutes somewhere between 10-15% of TEA’s total membership. Rather than attempt to impose a trusteeship over the local, TEA has opted to form a competing local, TEA West, and is hard at work signing up MSCEA members. It already hired away two MSCEA UniServ directors.
On its web site, MSCEA is advising members:
DO NOT be persuaded to sign membership applications with other organizations.
DO NOT sign up to have your dues payments taken via bank draft.
YOUR M-SCEA BENEFITS: Reduction in Dues, Strong UniServ Unit, Same Liability Coverage, Legislative & Legal Victories
But TEA West has its own web site now, and it is telling Memphis teachers, “We don’t have to see our unity be destroyed. Call or email to learn what you can do!”
What you can do, naturally, is send them money, because MSCEA is no longer transmitting dues to TEA or NEA. And if the situation weren’t complicated enough, both sides distributed their own sets of “facts” to the members.
TEA West’s facts claim the MSCEA can no longer operate as the Memphis Shelby County Education Association because its affiliation agreement states that should it ever disaffiliate “it would relinquish all rights thereafter to use in its name ‘education association, teachers association, education support association, faculty association’ or any equivalent phrase.” It also claims MSCEA is dodging a financial review from NEA.
MSCEA presented to its representative assembly a clean audit from Banks, Finley, White & Co. dated September 28, 2015, and its own fact sheet claiming TEA has failed its obligation to fully fund its UniServ grant. The document also states, “In a recent TEA Board Meeting, TEA discussed renting out its third floor in Nashville, selling its parking lot and possibly selling its building.”