Green Room

The National Education Association and State Affiliates: A $1.5 Billion Annual Enterprise

posted at 4:13 pm on April 25, 2011 by

An Education Intelligence Agency analysis of Internal Revenue Service filings by the National Education Association and its state affiliates reveal the union amassed more than $1.5 billion in revenue in 2008-09, more than 90 percent of it in the form of dues from public education employees.

EIA created a table, now posted on its web site, that lists the financial figures for NEA and each of its 53 “state” affiliates (50 states plus the directly affiliated Federal Education Association, which represents NEA teachers overseas and on military bases, the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly, and the Utah School Employees Association). The numbers include each union’s total revenues, dues income and the amount devoted to employee compensation.

The statistics do not include the income of any of the union’s 14,000 locals, whose totals would range from the significant (for example, the $3 million annual revenue of the San Diego Education Association) to the nonexistent, in the case of small affiliates that collect no local dues.

NEA and its affiliates are all tax-exempt organizations. If they were defined as a charity, they would rank no worse than 13th in the nation – well ahead of the American Cancer Society, Habitat for Humanity, and the Nature Conservancy. Their one-year income exceeds the entire endowments of all but 43 charitable grant-making foundations, including the Broad Foundation and the Heinz Endowments (and close to the Annenberg Foundation).

The figures show that only a handful of affiliates felt the early effects of the recession. NEA national saw a 2.7 percent increase from the previous year, and some affiliates had double-digit increases in revenue. However, there were signs of financial troubles ahead.

The California Teachers Association and others saw significant declines in revenue, almost entirely due to poor investment returns. In the case of CTA, dues income actually exceeded “total” revenue because of investment losses.

Increased liabilities for employee compensation caused additional worries. The numbers in the table include not only salaries and benefits for current teacher union staff, but set-asides for their pensions and post-retirement health care. In most cases, the growth in the amount devoted to these purposes greatly exceeded the increases in income.

It would be ironic if the union’s own labor costs forced it to make dramatic budget reductions or dues hikes. NEA and its state affiliates combined currently spend more than $820 million on some 7,000 employees (the number of retirees is unknown). In five states (Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, Oregon and Washington) dues income failed to cover the costs of employee compensation.

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Explain again why these organizations are tax exempt?

Canadian Imperialist Running Dog on April 25, 2011 at 4:56 PM

Does this account for bho’s 1B he needs for re-election? Unions, unions and gobs of foreign money?

letget on April 25, 2011 at 7:10 PM

Too big to fail.

Nope. Too big to succeed, unless you define success as wasting untold billions on bureaucratic nonsense that could be better used for any number of things, not the least of which would be keeping the money local.

Get rid of federal overreach into education and put the shackles on the NEA, and we just might get some measure of success from our well-funded but poorly run education system.

Over-organization is overrated.

hillbillyjim on April 26, 2011 at 1:41 AM

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Comments have been closed on this post but the discussion continues here.

Ed Morrissey on April 27, 2011 at 3:19 PM