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NEA Financial Disclosures Shed Light on Union Dollars
posted by: Colin | April 26, 2011, 05:45 PM   

The union watchdog group Education Intelligence Agency released an analysis of the National Education Association’s most recent IRS documents this week, shedding light on the astronomical amount the NEA and its state affiliates collect from teachers each year.  According to tax documents, the NEA amassed more than $1.5 billion in revenue in 2008-09, more than 90 percent of it in the form of union dues from teachers.

The EIA posted a PDF on its website that lists the financial figures for NEA’s Washington D.C. office and each of its 53 affiliates (50 states plus several smaller affiliates). The figures disclose the union's total revenues, dues income, and the amount devoted to employee salaries.

While the numbers showcase a broad picture, the statistics do not include the income of the 10,000+ local unions who collect dues ranging zero to $3 million. For example, some local unions in large cities collect more dues than certain smaller states.

The numbers show that while the NEA and its affiliates are tax-exempt organizations, the EIA astutely points out that “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.”  Along the same comparison, in one year the unions collect more money than all but 43 grant-providing foundations endowments.

Despite the economic crisis, only a handful of affiliates felt a financial pinch. While the NEA’s national office and some state affiliates saw an increase in revenue, there were signs of financial storms brewing in certain states due to poor investment decisions and bloated staffs.

The numbers in the EIA’s PDF include not only salaries and benefits for current union staff, but funds for their pensions and post-retirement health care. In some cases, like in Washington, the growth in the amount devoted to funding these causes greatly exceeded the increases in income. Interestingly, much like in the states, the unions are having difficulty living within their means.

One figure that should be of no surprise is the revenue breakdown among right-to-work states. In states where teachers have limited or no choice in affiliation, a total of $802,675,942 was collected from teachers, as opposed to the $158,663,400 from right-to-work states, thus proving that forced dues are big business for the NEA. These figures further highlight that if given the choice, teachers often decide not to pay dues to a union that doesn’t align with their beliefs and budget.

While the unions are undoubtedly struggling with far reaching legislation aimed at curbing the union’s strong hold on teachers’ paychecks, it will be interesting to see how they handle their financial troubles. Whether they choose to raise dues or cut staff, the numbers show a true picture of the huge amounts they collect from American teachers.

What do you think about the NEA financials? Does the amount of money spent on staff surprise you?
Comment below.

>> Originally posted by Alix on the AAE Blog.

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While the numbers showcase a broad picture, the statistics do not include the income of the 10,000+ local unions who collect dues ranging zero to $3 million. For example, some local unions in large cities collect more dues than certain smaller states.
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