National Education Association Secretary-Treasurer Becky Pringle told the assembled delegates at the union’s annual assembly in Atlanta this week what passes for good news in the organized labor movement these days.
“We are still losing members but we are not losing as many members as we projected in the budget last year. So give yourselves a round of applause!” she said, according to a report on the Education Intelligence Agency’s blog.
This meant the NEA had $6.6 million more in its budget than it originally projected. The union’s leadership has already found an excellent use for this money: reversing planned cuts to their salary and benefits and those of their staffers.
As EIA blogger Mike Antonucci notes: “The modified 2013-14 budget for that line-item is $3.8 million higher than originally adopted for that year. The ‘outside services’ line-item was also revised upward by more than $3.1 million. There goes your windfall.”
They probably could have used the money for organizing. The union claims 3 million members, but only two million of those are full-time, dues-paying members. The rest are retirees, members who paid lifetime fees when they joined, student teachers or also belong to the American Federation of Teachers but only pay dues to that union.
Things aren’t looking much better for next year. “We lost members this year. We will continue to lose members next year. We are worried, most especially about our large affiliates,” Pringle said.