The NEA Girds for Battle

A brilliant report from Mike Antonucci at the Education Intelligence Agency (EIA) paints a dark picture of what the recent public union defeats in Wisconsin and elsewhere mean to the National Education Association.  “There should be no mistake about it,” he writes, “NEA sees them as a threat to its very existence.”

Antonucci makes a compelling argument to buttress his case that the NEA has reason to go to war in the face of the recent existential skirmishes.  After several decades of membership increases (making it the largest union in America) and “a virtually non-stop expansion of the scope of public sector collective bargaining,” he reports, NEA numbers are down in 43 states. And, he says, “the union faces a $14 million budget shortfall…”

Here’s the battle cry, according to Antonucci:

`We are at war,’ incoming NEA executive director John Stocks told the union’s board of directors last month, outlining a plan to keep NEA from joining the private sector industrial unions in a slow, steady decline into irrelevancy to anyone outside the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee. And like any good war plan for an army under siege, it allows for a defense-in-depth while preparing for a decisive counterattack.

Antonucci is by no means draping any coffins here. The NEA  “is still a political powerhouse, and will not be content with lying against the ropes, being pummeled by Republicans,” he reports.  And “despite its budget shortfall and freeze on executive pay, the national union is flush with cash, and aims to double the size of its political war chest. The bulk of this money will go to the state affiliates, though the national union will have a larger hand in how it is disbursed.”

Read EIA’s full report here.

–Peter Meyer

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