Teachers’ union opposition to increased transparency proposal falls flat

I recently posted on the Department of Labor’s proposed federal regulation that would improve the financial transparency and democratic procedures of unions.

The Center, along with many other organizations across the country, submitted thoughtful comments in support of the proposed rule, while the National Education Association encouraged its union members to comment in opposition.

Those submissions, though, were a bit embarrassing. Approximately 5,770 comments were the same National Education Association form letter, and over 2,700 of those didn’t even have the “INSERT NAME” portion individualized. The Department of Labor views form comments as one, single comment.

Comments like the Center’s, that were counted as unique comments in support of the regulation, outnumbered the opposition’s unique comments four-to-one.

If the rule change passes, unions like the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers and at least 137 other unions would be required to disclose their finances and membership data, which would increase transparency in government and make it easier for workers to hold their unions accountable.

The Center will update the status of the proposed rule as it is made available.