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The NEA exposed

Every election cycle, I'm amazed and appalled to see ads for various candidates (uniformly Democratic, of course) equate an NEA endorsement with being "pro-education."

That's misleading, to say the least, since being "pro-education" isn't the NEA's goal, even ostensibly. Personally, I'd always assumed the NEA's goal was trifold: to fight for its membership to get

  1. as much money as possible
  2. for doing the least work possible
  3. with little or no accountability.

Damn. It looks like I was being a bit generous in my assessment of the nation's largest teachers union. It seems their agenda may be a bit more pernicious than naked self-interest alone.

If we told you that an organization gave away more than $65 million last year to Jesse Jackson's Rainbow PUSH Coalition, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, Amnesty International, AIDS Walk Washington and dozens of other such advocacy groups, you'd probably assume we were describing a liberal philanthropy. In fact, those expenditures have all turned up on the financial disclosure report of the National Education Association, the country's largest teachers union.

Uh huh. And what does this have to do with teaching kids to read and write, exactly?

Fortunately, a new set of rules is going to allow all of us to keep much better tabs on precisely how big unions are spending their members' dues. The results are interesting, to say the least.

Reg Weaver, the union's president, makes $439,000 a year. The NEA has a $58 million payroll for just over 600 employees, more than half of whom draw six-figure salaries. Last year the average teacher made only $48,000, so it seems you're better off working as a union rep than in the classroom.

Many of the organization's disbursements -- $30,000 to the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association, $122,000 to the Center for Teaching Quality -- at least target groups that ostensibly have a direct educational mission. But many others are a stretch, to say the least. The NEA gave $15,000 to the Human Rights Campaign, which lobbies for "lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equal rights." The National Women's Law Center, whose Web site currently features a "pocket guide" to opposing Supreme Court nominee Sam Alito, received $5,000. And something called the Fund to Protect Social Security got $400,000, presumably to defeat personal investment accounts.

Amazing, no? Remember, this is supposed to be a teachers union, not MoveOn.org. The latter, of course, has the relative advantage of at least being honest about its agenda.

When George Soros does this sort of thing, at least he's spending his own money. The NEA is spending the mandatory dues paid by members who are told their money will be used to gain better wages, benefits and working conditions. According to the latest filing, member dues accounted for $295 million of the NEA's $341 million in total receipts last year. But the union spent $25 million of that on "political activities and lobbying" and another $65.5 million on "contributions, gifts and grants" that seemed designed to further those hyper-liberal political goals.

Other unions play the same game, of course, although perhaps not to such a ridiculous extent. Want to see how your union spends your dues? You can do so here.


Look at Barry, trying to stir up class envy. Why, you and JMK explained to me how one shouldn't be jealous of the earnings of another. After all, I'm sure they EARN their money just like Bush, Cheney, and the Halliburton/Enron gang.

Don't try and divide people by jealousy like you two accuse Democrats of doing. CEO's who make $60,000,000 in year-end bonuses EARNED that money, and they should keep it tax-free, forever, passing it on to their criminal idiot descendants.

Hey "Big Lib," I can't help but notice that you're actually Bailey Hankins... or at least someone who shares an IP address with him.

Kind of an ironic choice of moniker, given how stringently you resisted the "liberal" label, don't you think?

Pure gluttony.

Heh, trying to change the subject I see. You must be getting owned pretty hard to need to go compare IP's.

I get called a Liberal on this board anyway, so why not embrace it -- since it obviously disturbs all you Neocons.

Now please address the point I made. You and JMK say that comparing wealth is a Democrat ploy to stir up class envy and divide and conquer. Aren't you doing the same thing?

The problem with the NEA isn't its fighting for its membership, Unions are supposed to do that, BUT the Union leaders aren't supposed to live large off the backs of the real workers. Come on! $440K/year for a Union boss? That's obscene.

Guys like Reggie Weaver aren't supposed to get fatter at the poor worker's expense, are they?

Course not.

The problem with the NEA is that, as a recent WSJ article attested, about 51% of that Union defines themselves as "Conservative" or "Somewhat Conservative," thus its giving to Left leaning activist groups like Rainbow Push, GLAAD, Amnesty Interantional, amounts to operating against the viewpoint of a large, probably a majority of their membership.

That's simply un-Democratic.

You've got it all wrong, just as you had with TWU Local 100's illegal strike. Local 100 slunk back to the bargaining table and took the same raise (11% over three years), the same one extra holiday per year and instead of just new hires paying an extra 4% into their pensions over the first ten years, EVERY Local 100 worker will now have to buck up 1.5% into their health care plans. Plus the Union owes $3 million in fines and the members all lose two days pay for every day they were on strike.

Toussaint sold out REAL, ACTIVE, dues paying members for "the unborn" (not yet hired), whom he's not paid to represent.

What if the MTA can't attract anyone for these jobs?

Who cares?

Certainly Local 100's got no dog in that fight! Hell, fewer new hires = more OT for the already hired and eventually the City or the MTA will have to up those new hire salaries as well.

The NEA has done the same thing, by giving hard earned dues monies to causes a huge number of their members obviously wouldn't support.

It also runs counter to the needs of the students and the cause of public education when it seeks more pay and a decreased workload, as all Unions do. Public Employees Unions need to be brought under control...in NYC that has been done and the savings has been tremendous. The Police and Fire in NYC are cut lean, with more cuts (closing of Engine Companies expected in early 2006), Bloomberg's hugely supported educational reforms that have him at odds with the UFT will, should they all go through, bring the UFT under control and greatly improve education within NYC.

That's not being "anti-Union," it's just being fair-minded about the issues.

Ay Bailib, a 60,000,000 year end bonus for someone who made a company a billion dollars is not the same thing as taking home 440,000 manning the helm of an organization funded by mandatory participation and dues whose obligation is to protect workers. The fact that they have millions to give to political advocacy groups (which surely many members do not support) shows that they have other priorities.

"Ay Bailib, a 60,000,000 year end bonus for someone who made a company a billion dollars is not the same thing as taking home 440,000 manning the helm of an organization funded by mandatory participation and dues whose obligation is to protect workers." (Ortho)

Damn straight!

These ridiculous "stock options" settlements that so many CEOs have gotten is due to "reforms" led by the last Democratic Congress. The one swept out of office in November of 1994. The same one that gave us NAFTA, also gave us the inane "reform" that capped CEO remuneration from their companies. It took away the corporate tax deduction for CEO salaries greater than $1 MILLION/year.

As a result, many corporations sought to woo the CEOs of their choice by offering huge stock options, often allowing the CEO to buy more of that stock at the same offering price down the road, no matter how high that stock may have risen.

What all that proved is that when government gets involved in micromanaging business, it ALWAYS fails miserably and in this case, many of the accounting scandals that blew up in 2000 and 2001 were due, in large part, to this.

Can you only lie, and nothing else?

CEO's are NOT being paid by performance, and their bonuses are ON TOP OF stock gains. We have huge corporations like Delphi going bankrupt here in Michigan and handed out huge executive welfare at the same time they ask the courts to negate their union contracts.

Let's call it what it is, Executive Welfare. Tell me, even if the company did make a billion dollars, was the CEO 100% responsible? What about all those years when GM lost billions, did the CEO put sixty million back into the company out of his own pocket?

Let me remind you of something you said: CEO's are commodities. Whomever can fulfill the job reponsibilities cheapest should be running the company. This clearly isn't happening, so you should be outraged. Instead, what happens is that a bunch of criminals like Cheney sit around (the Board of Directors) taking turns raping the company of its assets, against the will and interest of shareholders and employees alike.

I bet India has some corporate CEO's who could do a much better job, much, much cheaper.

And for god's sake stop your childish "back in '94 the Democrats did it" bullshit. Republicans have all the power. They can change it all if they like. Why don't they? If it is the cause, why don't they change it?

How about doing the job of education American children cheaply? For every level of administration that is added to a school, a teacher or subject is gone.

So, in your mind, a CEO's performance is obscene because the stockholders want accountability, but those same teachers who want accountability for their union dues to the NEA and who may not support the agenda are harrased, fired or given bad reports. Oh, like you have evidence that it doesn't happen?

The NEA isn't about helping schoolchildren, they are about helping themselves.

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