A listening post monitoring public education and teachers’ unions.

From the Vault: July 23, 2001

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Feb• 23•15

EIA Exclusive: The Latest Staff Salary Figures from NEA Affiliates. Each year, NEA collects information about the salaries and benefits paid to employees of its state affiliates all across the nation. The survey contains the most comprehensive data about staff compensation outside of the payroll records and collective bargaining agreements themselves. Naturally, NEA tends to keep the survey close to the vest. Indeed, EIA hasn’t seen one of these surveys since 1996… until now.

EIA is in possession of the latest survey, which amassed wage and benefit data for the just completed school year, along with a 10-year history of average salary information for both professional and support staff. The survey contains no information on union elected officials (presidents, VPs, treasurers), nor does it contain information on union executives and managers (executive directors, department heads, general counsels). The data are divided into two categories: professional staff (UniServ directors, communications, etc.) and support staff (secretaries, administrative assistants, etc.).

The highest professional staff salaries belong to the New Jersey Education Association, which average$100,018. Connecticut professional staffers come in second at $93,115, and California is third with $92,010. Bringing up the rear is South Carolina at $42,091. At $50,764, NEA-Alaska had the highest paid support staffers. Professional staffers of the California Teachers Association are at the top in total compensation, thanks to a retirement plan that contributes almost $20,000 per employee per year. CTA’s UniServ directors average $135,434 in salary plus benefits, one of 18 state affiliates in which the professional staff compensation package reaches six figures.

Average salaries can fluctuate wildly from year to year, especially in small affiliates, when highly paid experienced staffers retire and are replaced by lower-paid new employees. Fortunately, the NEA survey also provides average salary data for the last 10 years, which allows for some leveling out of these spikes. The highest average professional salary increase last year came from the Virginia Education Association. UniServ directors there made $68,660, an 18.5 percent increase from 1999. Professionals saw double-digit average pay hikes in Texas, North Carolina and Nevada. The Nevada State Education Association also had the largest average pay increase since 1991– 66.0 percent. Support staffers in North Carolina saw a 27.1 percent average pay raise last year, while Delaware, California and New Hampshire also saw double-digit increases. Since 1991, Nevada support staffers have seen their average pay more than double — a 100.4 percent increase to $35,328.

Alaska staffers lead the nation with 47 days off (vacation plus holidays), while no affiliate has fewer than 27 days off per year for any of its staffers.


Taking a Break

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Feb• 20•15

I’ll be away all next week, returning to these pages on Monday, March 2. I’ll fill the space with selections from the EIA vault. I’ll miss you!


Minnesota Teacher of the Year Talks About Unions

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Feb• 19•15

Tom Rademacher is the reigning Minnesota Teacher of the Year, an award sponsored by the state teachers’ union, Education Minnesota. He posted a long article on his blog and it was reprinted on Education Post. I encourage you to read the whole thing because it explains better than I could (though I’ve tried) the state of affairs between teachers’ unions and younger members, and especially teachers’ unions and dissident members – from both the militant and collaborative sides.

Here are a few important paragraphs:

Though details may vary on how, teacher after teacher I have met has felt unwelcome in union spaces. There are teachers who don’t see the union taking action on issues that are most important to them, not supporting district leaders who speak up with concerns about kids of color, who don’t see a place where they can advocate for those issues without being treated like they just don’t get it yet or like they don’t belong. Young teachers are talked down to. Teachers with new ideas are treated like they just don’t understand the old ones. If they keep talking, they are shouted down and pushed aside. If they take their voices elsewhere then their integrity, honesty, motives, and histories are questioned.

…It may not be apparent to those whose beliefs line up perfectly with the union narrative of teacher experience, but for those who don’t it is striking how often conversations, meetings and events assume opinions as known truth and move on (after taking a few potshots for cheap laughs at anyone who may think otherwise). When a person or organization holds their truth so firmly as the truth, they are going to lose people, which is just not acceptable from an organization that is supposed to represent everyone.

…I’m worried. Worried for the union and for the potential it may not reach. There are good teachers doing good work in unions, but their numbers are a tiny percentage of total teachers. Union involvement, especially among new teachers and teachers of color, is at a critical low. I don’t think those groups are anti-union or afraid of the extra work, but are told to listen more than they’ve been asked to speak. The work I see in unions is more “how do we convince everyone we are right,” and less, “what are we doing wrong that so many teachers aren’t here?”


Bad Day for Local Officers

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Feb• 18•15

Orange County, Florida –  [Background here]:

Some teachers are crying out in opposition to their union president, and one teacher is sending out a flier titled, “Our union is in crisis,” which has a petition to recall Moore attached.

…That national union organization investigated an allegation that Moore spent $91,000 in union funds without approval from the board of directors.

AFT said Moore likely did not pocket any of the money, but found a serious breach of controls and said there should be no more credit cards allowed for now.

They also found Moore was trying to place allies in helpful positions and went around the board to get what she wanted.

* Plum, Pennsylvania:

For the second time in less than a week, police have arrested and accused a Plum High School teacher of having sex with a student.

Joseph J. Ruggieri, 40, of Plum, is an English teacher and vice president of the Plum Borough Education Association that represents the district’s 268 teachers.

Plum police arrested Ruggieri about 7 p.m. Tuesday in his home, Chief Jeffrey Armstrong said. Ruggieri is charged with one count each of institutional sexual assault and corruption of minors.

The student told police she had sex with Ruggieri in his home more than once, according to a criminal complaint, which did not provide her age but said she was a minor. They began talking on the phone and sending text messages in late 2014.


Will Teachers’ Unions Exit Stage Left?

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Feb• 17•15

Click here to read.


Union Protesters Demand Action From House… An Actual House

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Feb• 17•15

The Milwaukee Teachers Education Association is very proud of its march and rally yesterday at the “home” of Gov. Scott Walker in Wauwatosa. It has an article on its web site, loads of photos on its Twitter feed, and links to local newspaper coverage.

The governor wasn’t there, but his son, Alex, was. He tweeted this message:

Yep. Here are the targets of union wrath:

One commenter sums it up better than I can:

So they know the governor isn’t there, but they came by to yell at the house. With a megaphone in case the house was hard of hearing. “Hey governor’s house, when your owner gets back tell him we’re upset. You got that, house? Yeah, just stand there with your shingles and gutters and act like you don’t hear me. You better be writing this down.”


Happy Presidents’ Day!

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Feb• 16•15