“We Are at War” – NEA’s Plan of Attack
...NEA has enjoyed substantial membership and revenue growth during the decades-long decline of the labor movement. It is now the largest union in America and by far the largest single political campaign spender in the 50 states.
But after some 27 years of increases, NEA membership is down in 43 states. The union faces a $14 million budget shortfall, and the demand for funds from its Ballot Measure/Legislative Crises Fund is certain to exceed its supply. Even the national UniServ grants, which help pay for NEA state affiliate employees, will be reduced this year.
In the past, NEA has routinely faced challenges to its political agenda, mostly in the form of vouchers, charters and tax limitations. But the state legislative and gubernatorial results in the 2010 mid-term elections emboldened Republicans for the first time to systematically target the sources of NEA’s power, which have little to do with education and everything to do with the provisions of each state’s public sector collective bargaining laws.
Hence the Manichaean battle in Madison. There has been a virtually non-stop expansion of the scope of public sector collective bargaining over the past 35 years. If the tide turns, it may take a lot longer than 35 years to get those privileges back.
“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. ...