A listening post monitoring public education and teachers’ unions.

A Teacher Union Parable

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Oct• 24•14

The Mercy Home for Boys and Girls held its 23rd Annual Ringside fundraiser in which local businessmen box each other to raise money for that charity. To his great credit, Chicago Teachers Union field representative Joey McDermott agreed to take part.

Mark Konkol of DNAInfo Chicago described what happened next.

One fighter — the only union man on the fight card — particularly caught my attention, Chicago Teachers Union field rep Joey McDermott, a tough talker who also claims to be a tough guy.

“I don’t do yoga to start my morning,” McDermott once told me. “I box.”

Saturday night, McDermott appeared ready to dish out a beating when he climbed into the ring to battle Jake “Dyn-O-Mite” Walker of banking giant ABN AMRO.

I asked McDermott’s pal, CTU staff coordinator Jackson Potter, if he thought the stocky representative of corporate America would symbolically squash the workingman during the three one-minutes rounds.

“Not at all. Joey bleeds CTU red. He’s going to come out on top,” Potter said. “I guarantee it.”

At ringside, McDermott’s long-time pals David Kaplan and Israel Martin weren’t so sure some of that CTU blood wouldn’t spill in the ring.

“Joey does overestimate his talent. That’s all I’m going to say,” Kaplan said. “With wearing headgear I’m not saying he won’t lose blood, but it’s less likely.”

Shortly after the first bell, “Dyn-O-Mite” Walker exploded with a flurry of punches that sent McDermott — wearing red boxing trunks and a CTU red tank top — immediately shuffling backward until his back hit the ropes.

By Round 2, a man in a very expensive suit surrounded by ladies in sparkly party dresses at ringside looked up from his cocktail just long enough to see the action and state the obvious about McDermott’s performance, “Man, the guy in the red is getting killed.”

To be fair, McDermott landed a few good shots, too. But in the end it wasn’t enough. He left the ring literally a beaten man, his face flushed from getting punched. He only succeeded in not bleeding CTU red.

“How do you feel?” I asked.

“Like [bleep],” he said as he walked through the crowd hanging his head in disappointment.

Lest you think Konkol was being unfair, he posted video of the first round.

That’s raising union-bashing to another level.


NEA’s Next Target: Florida’s 2nd District

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Oct• 23•14

The National Education Association’s Super PAC has pivoted recently to close House races, spending $335,000 on an ad buy in Maine’s 2nd Congressional district last week.

This week it spent $126,000 on a TV ad against incumbent GOP Rep. Steve Southerland in Florida’s 2nd District. Southerland is locked in a tight race with Democrat Gwen Graham, daughter of former Florida Gov. and U.S. Senator Bob Graham.

Graham is running ads of her own distancing herself from ObamaCare.


It’s a Teacher Union Real Estate Sell-Off!

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Oct• 22•14

Yesterday’s post about the Massachusetts Teachers Association selling its headquarters building in Boston was one in a long line of stories about teachers’ unions and real estate.

There was the United Teachers of Dade sale, and the Indiana State Teachers Association sale (to NEA Properties Inc.), and even the United Federation of Teachers multiple sales.

This morning came the news that the Chicago Teachers Union sold off a 29-story apartment building for just under $50 million. The union purchased the tower in 1966 as a place for retired teachers to live.

A 600-square-foot one-bedroom apartment rents there for between $1500 and $1700 per month. The union spent $3 million renovating some of the units, and raised rents accordingly. The new owners expect to continue that strategy.

“We are very happy to be working with the buyer and we think it’s a fair deal for everyone involved,” said acting CTU president Jesse Sharkey.


Massachusetts Teachers Association Becomes a Tenant

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Oct• 21•14

Last year we reported the Massachusetts Teachers Association put its eight-story headquarters building in Boston up for sale. After almost a year, the union finally found a buyer.

New York-based real estate investors Faros Properties purchased the building for a reported $9.85 million. Under the terms of the sale, MTA will remain in the space as tenants until December 2015, after which the union will need to find a new home.

Faros has holdings in many cities in the Northeast, primarily converting properties within city limits into apartments and condominiums.



Written By: Mike Antonucci - Oct• 20•14

Click here to read.


NEA Drops $335K Into House Race in Maine

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Oct• 20•14

The National Education Association’s Super PAC has concentrated almost exclusively on trying to preserve the Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate, but last week it made a $335,000 expenditure to produce and air ads in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District against Republican Bruce Poliquin.

Poliquin has a slight lead in the polls over Democrat Emily Cain, who is a state legislator with a higher education background.

NEA also spent smaller amounts in the Senate races in Alaska, North Carolina and Iowa.


NEA Spending Almost $80 Per Arkansas Member on Senate Race

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Oct• 17•14

The National Education Association’s Super PAC dropped another $350,000 on a media buy in the Arkansas U.S. Senate race, bringing its total spending in the state to about $840,000.

The teachers’ union represents fewer than 11,000 working public education employees in Arkansas (out of about 32,000).