Unions Account for 99.4% of Contributions to Keep Massachusetts Charter Cap

Question 2 would authorize 12 additional charter schools per year in Massachusetts and the unions have decided for some reason that this is their Thermopylae.

Through October 15 the No on 2 campaign has raised almost $13,434,000 of which more than 99.4% has come from labor unions. The vast majority of those contributions came from the two national teachers’ unions and their Massachusetts affiliates.

The Massachusetts Teachers Association leads the way with almost $6 million in cash and in-kind contributions so far – or about $53 per active member.

Its parent union, the National Education Association, chipped in with $5.4 million. The remaining union donations are as follows:

American Federation of Teachers – $1,000,000

AFT Massachusetts – $820,472

Lynn Teachers Union – $50,000

Boston Teachers Union – $49,550

United Teachers of Lowell – $30,000

Salem Teachers Union – $10,000

University of Massachusetts Faculty Federation – $5,000

Massachusetts AFL-CIO – $5,000

Massachusetts & Northern New England Laborers’ District Council – $5,000

Massachusetts Teachers Association Benefits Inc. – $1,437.55

International Union of Operating Engineers Local No.4 – $1,000

United Food & Commercial Workers Local 1445 – $500

Boston Carmen’s Union – $300

Massachusetts Library Staff Association – $100

Individual employees of unions – $2,107

While there might not be much more outside money coming in, the campaign still has more than $3.2 million on hand, and the Massachusetts Teachers Association still has $4 million more available that the union’s board of directors set aside for the campaign in May.


Massachusetts Teachers Association Hires Temps to Do Union Work During Campaign

The Massachusetts Teachers Association is extremely committed to preventing 12 additional charter schools per year from opening in the state. It has authorized spending more than $9 million of its own money to defeat Question 2 on next month’s ballot and has successfully lobbied the National Education Association for almost $5 million more.

Along with this stack of cash, the union is also contributing manpower. With most of MTA’s regular staff lending their time and expertise to the No on 2 campaign, the union found itself short-handed for the mundane task of providing services to its members.

Fortunately for MTA, money is no object. The union appropriated $500,000 to hire temps to perform staff work until after Election Day.

Spending to employ non-union substitutes won’t show up on any campaign finance disclosure report, nor will agency fee-payers be reimbursed for their contribution to it, but it is political spending nonetheless. When you are mounting this kind of crusade there is no room for half-measures.


Some of My Best Friends Are Billionaires

From CNN Politics:

For Our Future, a new outside group set on avoiding duplication among traditional power players on the left, will report this weekend having collected millions from a new corps of donors, including unions representing steelworkers and letter carriers, the group told CNN Friday. Yet the biggest supporter remains Tom Steyer, the billionaire climate activist who was the Democratic Party’s top donor during the 2014 cycle.

Steyer has given $20 million to the organization through his personalized super PAC, NextGen Climate, and said in an interview Thursday that he did not plan to increase the size of that commitment in the coming weeks. Other top givers to the super PAC are Dustin Moskovitz, the Facebook co-founder who has stunned Democrats by injecting groups with $35 million out of nowhere, and his wife who together donated $5 million to For Our Future.

…The unions that joined the effort earlier have given more substantial amounts: AFSCME contributed $4.8 million; the American Federation of Teachers donated $4.1 million; the AFL-CIO gave $2.3 million; and the National Education Association handed over another $2.1 million.


Same Old Folks at the NEA Convention

Let me introduce today’s statistic by first repeating a post from October 20, 2015:

Two years ago, NEA discovered the delegates to its convention were, on average, 51 years old. Even worse, only 10 percent of them were under 35 years of age. This led to much handwringing and vows to create outreach programs to attract and train new union leaders.

Last year, convention delegates were, on average, 49 years old and 8 percent of them were under 35. More consternation followed, along with some nice brochures.

This year, the average age of a convention delegate was 50, and a whopping 2.7 percent of the assembly were under the age of 35.

I don’t have any suggestions on how to attract young public education employees to participate in the union, but I think that whatever NEA officers have been doing the last two years, they should consider doing the opposite.

Well, in 2016 NEA really put its shoulder to the wheel, and after much outreach and recruiting of new teacher union leaders, the results were plain. At the 2016 NEA convention, the average delegate was 49.3 years old. The share of delegates under the age of 35 was again 2.7 percent.

Young teachers aren’t going to participate in union governance in any great numbers unless they feel they can affect and alter the direction of the organization. Those in charge aren’t yet willing to let them do so.


Wikileaks: NEA Was Ready to Call Off Hillary Endorsement Vote

The release by Wikileaks of the e-mails of John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, revealed that the leaders of the National Education Association were determined to win an endorsement for Clinton well before determining the wishes of the union’s representative bodies.

Despite constant pressure from NEA’s leaders, and a positive recommendation from the union’s PAC Council (although I suspected some manipulation there as well), there was still serious doubt whether the proposed Clinton endorsement would meet the 58% threshold needed from the union’s board of directors.

NEA’s executive officers acted quickly, urging Clinton to appear in person before the board on October 3, 2015 to answer any questions and alleviate any concerns. This she did, and the board ultimately voted to endorse her.

But NEA was prepared to call off the vote and whitewash the setback if things had gone awry. A Podesta e-mail dated September 29, 2015 described the situation and NEA’s plan to Clinton:

here’s the status of things, which you may already have been briefed on. Executive Committee of 7 (3 officers and 4 others)) voted unanimously to endorse. Next step is the PAC Committee, which is weighted by PAC participation and the votes are there to endorse. Final step is a vote of the full 120 member Board where the threshold for endorsement is 58%.

Sanders forces are working furiously to put off an endorsement. We do not have certainty on hitting the 58% threshold despite the intense work of Lilly and John Stocks. You are scheduled to see the full Board on Saturday morning. John’s assessment is that your appearance is critical if they are going to get the endorsement this weekend. There is some risk though that you show up and they remain uncertain of a successful vote so that they put it off for further work by the leadership.

They will not call the vote unless they are certain that they will hit the threshold. Downside is that the Sanders people will spin that notwithstanding the PAC Committee recommendation, the Board delayed action. All here assess that it’s worth the risk and that you should show up and try to get the endorsement now. If the vote is delayed, Lily and John will say this is a multi-layered process and good progress was made by securing the PAC Committee recommendation. I wanted you to have a good sense of the state of play, because they have to let people know that you will be there no later than tomorrow early am. I and the rest of the team think you should confirm participation, but wanted to give you a chance to discuss if you have a different view.

Just wanted to note that NEA’s Executive Committee has 9 members, not 7, and that the board has 170 members, not 120.