Teachers’ union once again spends more $ on politics than representation

The National Education Association — the country’s largest teachers’ union — once again prioritized political spending over member representational expenditures, according to its most recent annual federal LM-2 filing covering Sept. 2021 through August 2022.

The NEA spent nearly $42 million on what it self-reports as “Political Activities and Lobbying” compared to around $38 million on representational activities. Additionally, almost $120 million was spent on “Contributions, Gifts, and Grants,” of which a good amount went to left-wing political organizations, including groups who then funnel donations to support Democratic candidates. (And then separately there’s the millions of dollars spent by the NEA’s PAC.)

With a track record of prioritizing politics, has the NEA been adding to its body of members over the years? Not when you remove mergers and acquisitions over the past 23 years from the equation, writes Mike Antonucci in The 74.

During a period when the United States added 346,000 teachers, along with hundreds of thousands of support employees eligible for union membership, NEA netted zero non-members and added nothing to the ranks of America’s labor unions.

With mergers removed from the equation, NEA’s state-level numbers paint a picture of a union split almost evenly between haves and have-nots. Of the 45 non-merged NEA state affiliates, 24 have fewer members today than they did in 1998-99.

Take Minnesota. The Minnesota Education Association (affiliated with the NEA) merged with the Minnesota Federation of Teachers (affiliated with the other national union, the American Federation of Teachers) in 1998 to create Education Minnesota. This merger technically “added” members to each national union’s numbers, “but since everyone involved was already a union member, it was a net gain of zero for unions as a whole,” explains Antonucci.

“NEA may be the largest union, but is its strength among education employees overrated?”