NEA Convention: Big PAC Bucks
posted at 11:57 pm on July 6, 2013 by Mike Antonucci
The 2013 National Education Association Representative Assembly adjourned tonight at 8:41 p.m. after four days of debate and speeches. Here’s a quick digest of the final day’s events:
* The delegates approved, without debate, a measure that requires NEA to provide a rationale in the budget whenever the members of the Executive Committee receive a salary bonus. Evidently the nine highest-ranking elected union officers were awarded a 3% bonus in the current year – not based on performance, the delegates were specifically told. “I could tell you a joke about that, but I won’t,” said Secretary-Treasurer Becky Pringle.
* NBI 77, which called on NEA to review the advantages and disadvantages of a national merger with the American Federation of Teachers, was introduced by Bonnie Peck of Nevada, who thought it was time to restart merger discussions. It soon became clear that many of the same state affiliates that shot down the 1998 Principles of Unity still feel the same way. Delegates from Massachusetts and Michigan voiced their opposition and the assembly closed debate relatively quickly.
A voice vote signaled defeat for the item, but was close enough for a standing vote to be taken. It was a substantial defeat. From my vantage point, the only large non-merged state delegation that seemed to be overwhelmingly in favor was Ohio, which was interesting but inconsequential to the outcome.
The vote was a barometer for the general sentiment about merger, and it was obvious that while there is still a significant number of delegates who think it would be a good idea, a strong majority have no interest in trying it again. For the foreseeable future, we’ll continue to have two national teachers’ unions, though more state affiliate mergers will certainly take place. (Florida, Minnesota, Montana, New York and North Dakota have merged NEA-AFT affiliates. Wisconsin is likely to become the sixth.)
* NEA has raised $3,734,000 for its PAC this election cycle, and if I did my arithmetic correctly, almost $1.3 million of that came from the delegates during this four-day period.
That’ll do it from Atlanta. Thanks for hanging in there with me. I now relinquish The Greenroom to my charming hosts.