$7.8 Million in 2010-11 AFT Member Dues (including Douglas County) Mostly Given to Liberal Causes

Doing his usual fine reporting, the Education Intelligence Agency’s Mike Antonucci breaks down the American Federation of Teachers’ latest report of its contributions to advocacy groups. During the 2010-11 fiscal year, AFT gave $7.8 million in member dues money to a wide range of organizations, an amount as large as the previous two years combined.

The National Education Association has the larger educator membership presence in Colorado. But among the state’s AFT teachers, the largest concentration by far can be found in conservative Douglas County, the state’s third-largest school district. Interesting then to see some of AFT’s contributions, as reported by Antonucci:

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From ACORN to Working America: AFT Spends $2.6 Million in 2009-10 Dues on Advocacy Groups

Most teachers union members in Colorado are affiliated with the National Education Association, but a smaller (though significant) number belong to the American Federation of Teachers. Some of that AFT dues money goes to national headquarters. How is some of that money spent?

Well, union organizations under federal oversight annually have to post a financial disclosure to the U.S. Department of Labor. This week Mike Antonucci of the Education Intelligence Agency has posted his digestible summary that “reveals the national union contributed $2.6 million to advocacy groups and charities” in 2009-10. Of the nearly 70 groups Antonucci lists here’s an alphabetically-sorted sample:

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From ACORN to Rainbow PUSH: AFT Members in Douglas County & Elsewhere Fund Causes

In Colorado, teachers have the choice to belong or not to belong to various membership organizations. Most teachers belong to the Colorado Education Association (CEA). But in a handful of districts, a union that belongs to the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is the bargaining agent. No place in our state is this more prominent than in Douglas County — where thousands of teachers and other school district employees pay dues to AFT.

Mike Antonucci of the Education Intelligence Agency recently combed through AFT’s official federal disclosure for 2008-09 and found a host of interesting contributions made by the organization with members’ dues money. In lieu of looking at the full list, here’s some highlights of AFT’s 2008-09 contributions:

  • ACORN (national and Maryland) $46,894
  • Center for American Progress (liberal think tank) $10,000
  • Colorado WINS (state employees union — includes money paid through SEIU) $819,818
  • Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate $500,000
  • Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network $10,000
  • Health Care for America Now! (pro-Obama Care lobbying group) $125,000
  • National Council of La Raza $10,000
  • Rainbow PUSH Coalition (Jesse Jackson) $25,000

AFT members cannot opt out of supporting these or any contributions. Here’s guessing union leaders didn’t poll the membership of professional teachers and others before deciding to give away millions of dollars on various political projects and causes.

Union Dues

The annual cost of full-time membership in the teachers union depends on the school district in which you work. For 2008-09, each full-time member pays $363 to the Colorado Education Association and $158 to the National Education Association headquarters. The local portion of union dues vary by location. Here is a sample of the TOTAL dues costs for 2008-09:

  • Westminster (Adams 50): $812
  • Aurora: $735
  • Littleton: $726
  • Jefferson County: $725
  • Lewis Palmer: $712
  • Canon City: $708
  • Academy 20: $707

By comparison, members of the Douglas County Federation of Teachers (Colorado’s largest local affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers) pay $431 in dues for 2008-09.

Annual membership to join the Professional Association of Colorado Educators is $180.

Annual membership to join Christian Educators Association International is $139.