Colorado Mystery

This is an unusual National Labor Relations Board filing:

An “RC Petition” is a request for a representation election, and an “RD Order” is a procedure to decertify the incumbent union. The Colorado Education Association Staff Organization represents CEA’s professional employees in negotiations with union management.

Since it’s a virtual impossibility that CEASO is being replaced, I’m guessing that this is required in order to expand or otherwise alter the scope of the bargaining unit.

If anyone out there knows for certain about this particular petition, or what similar petitions can do, let me know. It could have a significant effect on the operations of the Colorado Education Association.

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AFT’s Disclosure Report Stirs Things Up

The American Federation of Teachers submitted its annual LM-2 financial disclosure report to the U.S. Department of Labor yesterday, and eyes immediately opened upon seeing $1.15 million in payments to The Atlantic Monthly.

RiShawn Biddle has already done the deep dive into the numbers, but AFT reports the entirety of that sum was for event sponsorships. The Atlantic holds a lot of events, but after a cursory search I can find only one that AFT underwrote. The Atlantic also has guidelines for its events which seem to adequately address the potential for undue influence.

Politico also reported about the LM-2, noting that the union’s net assets were down significantly. “An AFT spokesman attributed the changes to a new chief financial officer making more conservative financial estimates and other changes,” Politico reported. “That included the integration of the union’s building into the rest of its financials, rising health care costs and a writeoff of old debt, he said.”

That’s a nice list, but the fact is AFT’s assets and liabilities have hardly changed over the past year, except that its cash reserves went from $33.4 million to $19.9 million. In layman’s terms, in addition to its usual expenditures, AFT took $13.5 million from its bank account and spent it.

What on? Well, it was an election year, so consultants and advocacy groups like the Economic Policy Institute and the Center for American Progress got their share. But media outlets also received AFT money, including Vox and Politico.

Taken all together, I’m not concerned that union cash grants are twisting minds among reporters and the general public. However, the amount of money AFT sent to The Atlantic for events exceeded the amount it sent to many of its own affiliates. I wonder if local members and officers feel they could have put that million to better use.

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Nevada State Education Association Sets Up Unity Web Site

Las Vegas has much more serious things on its mind this morning than the state of relations between its teacher union local and the state association. There’s nothing I can say about another mass murder that isn’t already being said more eloquently elsewhere, so I’ll stay in my lane and provide the latest labor news.

The courts are not the only place where the Nevada State Education Association and NEA are battling with the Clark County Education Association. NSEA amped up its member relations pitch by creating a web site, NVUnity.com.

The site isn’t so much about unity as it is a countermeasure to the series of YouTube videos released by CCEA to explain its position to local members.

The Unity site encouraged members to attend the CCEA representative council meeting last Tuesday “to demand CCEA’s leadership and executive director resume paying dues to NEA and NSEA.” I haven’t found evidence from any source that any such demand was made.

Another interesting note is that while CCEA constantly denies wanting to disaffiliate, NSEA and NEA raise that specter:

CCEA reported at its August 22 Association Rep Council (ARC) meeting that a motion was made by the CCEA Board on August 19 to recommend disaffiliation from NSEA. A record of that motion being made can be found on CCEA’s website. A vote was passed to withhold dues from NSEA and the National Education Association (NEA). According to meeting minutes, the CCEA board “affirmed their wish of coming together and addressing issues to meet the needs of both organizations and their members.”

However, the actions of CCEA leaders and its executive director John Vellardita during the September 18 meeting with NSEA contradicted those hopes, and instead signaled a move to continue actions which sever ties between NEA/NSEA and its members in CCSD. Can a renewed move for disaffiliation be far behind?

NEA and NSEA seem to think the very idea of disaffiliation will alarm CCEA members and spur them to action. I’m not so sure. If CCEA started to provide liability insurance to teachers, even more members might wonder why they needed to continue to pay all that state and national dues money.

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Supreme Court to Hear Agency Fee Case

16-1466 JANUS, MARK V. AMERICAN FEDERATION, ET AL.
The petitions for writs of certiorari are granted.

And with that, public sector labor unions may be changed forever.

Oral arguments and an actual decision are still months away, but the unions that would be most affected by an adverse ruling have already vented their anger in a press release.

It manages to squeeze in the words “working people” 12 times. We’re all working people, and nine out of ten of us do not belong to unions.

One sentence in the release is particularly risible:

However, the people behind this case simply do not believe that working people deserve the same freedoms they have: to negotiate a fair return on their work.

They are right about one thing: The “people behind this case” do have the freedom to negotiate a fair return on their work, because they don’t belong to a union. Any individual employed at a job where exclusive bargaining is instituted has no freedom to negotiate anything. That right is surrendered to the union.

The 1977 Abood ruling, which Janus would overturn, was problematic at the time. Forty years later, we might finally stop using governmental power to force working people to pay fees to a private organization they did not choose, or lose their job.

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First Set of Iowa Locals Vote Overwhelmingly to Recertify Union

The Iowa legislature passed a collective bargaining law that requires all of the state’s public sector unions to face recertification elections. Elections in the first 13 school districts are now complete, and the Iowa State Education Association can bask in a decisive victory.

All 13 ISEA locals were recertified, and by very large margins. More impressive was the 89% turnout in the mail-in election. Future votes will be conducted electronically.

It’s a good sign for ISEA and other public sector unions, who face 475 elections next month, and 800 more over the course of the next two years.

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