Teachers’ union labels its political activity as ‘the envy of every political organization in MN’

Monday will mark Governor Dayton’s last day in office and the swearing in of Governor-elect Walz. As a former educator, Walz was quickly endorsed by Education Minnesota, the state’s teachers’ union. Because of low voter turnout among its members in the last midterm election in 2014, Education Minnesota launched an extensive and well-funded get-out-the-vote effort in 2018.

In the union’s December 2018/January 2019 publication Minnesota Educator, Education Minnesota President Denise Specht used her column to highlight these efforts.

From the most engaging gubernatorial endorsement process in our union’s history, to the training and equipping of more than 2,000 worksite action leaders, to a get-out-the-vote effort that was the envy of every political organization in Minnesota, we learned an important lesson about coming together. [Emphasis added]

Education Minnesota is not shy about its political involvement. While it is against the law to take dues money and give it directly to a candidate or political party, this money does end up paying for politics in the broad sense of its definition: lobbying, independent expenditures, issue advocacy, ballot initiative campaigns, etc. The union also hired campaign staffers, according to its federal filings. And while the organization doesn’t exclusively tie itself to one party, it unabashedly acknowledges its close alignment with the DFL party.

Neither our demands for our students or ourselves, nor a rejection of the politics of division, were necessarily aligned to a single political party—although more DFL candidates unquestionably supported our goals this year.

Instead, as the legendary union leader Samuel Gompers once said, “We must be partisan for a principle and not for a party.” [Emphasis added]

The union’s track record, though, seems intent on the latter.