Nevada NEA Lays Off Three Staffers; Cites Loss of Dues From Clark County

Interesting that when faced with a cash crunch due to the Clark County Education Association withholding dues (background here), the Nevada State Education Association’s first instinct was to relieve itself of three of its lowest paid employees.

NSEA’s only hope is a favorable decision in court, because it is clear that Clark County can do without NSEA’s services more than NSEA can do without Clark County’s money.


Good News for Newsom Is the End for Eastin

The California Teachers Association State Council endorsed Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom for governor in 2018, when incumbent Gov. Jerry Brown is termed out.

This is not a surprise. Newsom is the front-runner and CTA was never going to endorse the man they consider an apostate, Antonio Villaraigosa.

But practical considerations prevented the union from endorsing Delaine Eastin, who barely registered in state polls. As the chair of the Assembly Education Committee and State Superintendent of Public Instruction in the 1990s, Eastin’s one purpose in life seemed to be to follow CTA’s bidding. According to a Los Angeles Times interview from last July, her views do not appear to have changed in the interim.

Without the CTA endorsement, there really is no way forward for Eastin’s campaign. She can console herself knowing that at least some of the union reps voting against her entered the classroom through the statewide class size reduction initiative Eastin championed in 1995. It didn’t do much for the kids, but it certainly expanded union membership. For that, CTA officials will always think of her fondly.


Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

Union members! How many of you know your union reps? You are probably familiar with the person at your work site, but beyond that?

In New York City people you have never seen before and don’t know are planning to visit your home to pitch you on all the benefits of union membership.

The United Federation of Teachers has come to the conclusion that if the U.S. Supreme Court rules against agency fees in the Janus case, some members might actually drop out. To prevent this from happening, UFT will train union reps in door-to-door sales.

The union will roll out the campaign gradually, but will ramp it up once its opposition campaign to a state constitutional convention is resolved.

I expect it will go something like this.


UPDATE: Hugs and Missing Tweets

AFT New Jersey endorsed state senate president Steve Sweeney for re-election. That wouldn’t be news except everyone knows the New Jersey Education Association endorsed Sweeney’s opponent, Republican Fran Grenier.

“This is a guy who walks the walk with working people,” said AFT president Randi Weingarten, shown here hugging Sweeney.

She also tweeted something to the effect that she couldn’t understand how any labor union could endorse a Trump supporter. The reason I can’t tell you exactly what she wrote is because the tweet has disappeared from her timeline and is now marked unavailable. [UPDATE: Through my mad skillz, I was able to find the exact quote, which was “Hard to see how any working person would support @SenSweeney’s opponent who supports @realDonaldTrump and @ChrisChristie.”]

Weingarten has tweeted an average of 38 times a day for almost seven years, so one or two disappearing isn’t a surprise. Strange it should be that one, though.


I Don’t Where Kevin de León Will Get the Cash, But I Know Whom He’ll Ask

California Senate president pro tem Kevin de León has decided to launch a primary challenge to Dianne Feinstein for her seat in the U.S. Senate. This requires me to trot out my one and only Kevin de León story.

It was March 1998, and I was attending the California Teachers Association’s Equity and Human Rights Conference. On the ballot that year was Proposition 226, which would have required unions to annually obtain their members’ permission to use any portion of their dues for political purposes.

At the time de León was working for NEA. This is what I reported afterward:

NEA’s Kevin de León discussed the results of recent internal polling and focus group surveys of CTA members. He revealed that 70 percent of CTA members currently support Prop 226. The news brought gasps of surprise from the assembled teacher union representatives and activists. “Yes, we’ve nudged that down from 76 percent,” interjected a chagrined CTA board member standing at the back of the room.

…de León discussed the external campaign, designed to swing voters who are not members of teachers’ unions. Because most people do not belong to unions, NEA/CTA focus group research determined that discussing 226’s negative effect on union influence was counterproductive. “Therefore,” de León said, “we are not going to use the word ‘union’.” He added that campaign ads, literature and other documentation targeted at external audiences would not refer to “unions.”

That year CTA spent $500,000 on an “internal campaign,” designed to persuade its own members that wanting to authorize the spending of their money on political purposes was wrong, and millions to persuade California voters that the initiative had nothing to do with unions. This being California, CTA succeeded on both counts. Prop 226 lost 53%-47%.

The newspaper headlines wonder: “Where will Kevin de León get the cash?” de León may be a long shot against Feinstein, but the appeal of putting one of their own in the U.S. Senate might be worth the gamble for NEA.