I wonder if anyone has researched the history of unions leaving unions. There are some meaty stories, from Change to Win leaving the AFL-CIO, to FMPR in Puerto Rico, to more recent instances like UHPA in Hawaii, and failed attempts in places like Dearborn, Wicomico County, Modesto and Oregon.
We have a couple of new divorce cases on the docket. The Grand Rapids Community College Alliance of Support Professionals voted to disaffiliate from the Michigan Education Association, and will continue as a local-only union.
And the Yakima Education Association extended its years-long battle with the Washington Education Association over its desire to withdraw from the regional UniServ, WEA MidState. Some NEA state affiliates have an additional layer of governance between local and state. Yakima’s complaint is that the services it receives from the region are not worth what it costs in dues money.
What is unusual about this case is that WEA is threatening to disaffiliate Yakima, not the other way around. I wonder if Yakima’s officers responded with “Please don’t throw us into the briar patch.”
Back in 2013, the WEA board ruled Yakima “out of compliance with the minimum standards of affiliation” and later banned its delegates from participating in the state union’s representative assembly. But WEA doesn’t have any useful intermediate measures to use against Yakima. It can ineffectually complain, or it can kick Yakima out… and lose almost 1,000 members.
Unfortunately for Yakima, WEA does have one tool: the big hammer. A state takeover is the preferred method of dealing with recalcitrant locals, so don’t be surprised if it happens again.