Roscommon Teachers Secede from Michigan Education Association, Form Local-Only Union

The local only union option continues to attract interest. Teachers in a northern Michigan school district recently voted two to one to break away from the state and national union and form their own independent bargaining organization. As reported by a local TV news affiliate, the president of the new Roscommon Teachers Association explained why so many of his colleagues took this unusual step:

“We’ve exercised the death penalty. We’re exercising our right to say, we’re your customer and we’re not buying you stuff anymore. I hope that’s the message they get,” said interim RTA president James Perialas.

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National Educ. Assoc. Doubles Fee on All Member Teachers, Funds “Progressive” Media Group

Teachers and other education employees who belong to a union affiliated with the Colorado Education Association automatically contribute a portion of their dues to the NEA headquarters in Washington, D.C. ($166 per full-time member in 2010-11). As the Education Intelligence Agency reports in the latest edition of the Communique, it looks like that figure is going up again for the coming school year:

Beginning this year, NEA will collect a $20 special assessment from each active (meaning, working) member – up from $10 in previous years. In accordance with the union’s bylaws, only 60 percent of the roughly $40 million raised is directed to the [Ballot Measures/Legislative Crises] fund. The other 40 percent goes into the union’s Media Campaign Fund.

Though mutually supportive, the Media Campaign Fund money is disbursed to NEA state affiliates through a separate application process from the BMLC fund. However, while almost all of the BMLC fund is sent to state affiliates, only 20 percent of the Media Campaign Fund leaves Washington, DC. The remainder is kept by NEA for national media projects, as well as distribution to a handful of media partners.

Unless NEA is cutting back its dues appropriations to other areas — highly unlikely — that means at least a $10 increase for teachers this year. As the Communique reports, some of that money goes to Media Matters for America, which describes itself as a:

progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.

Do Colorado teachers believe that is the best use of their dues money — which for many CEA/NEA members totals more than $750 a year?

Two Local Iowa Teachers Unions Secede from NEA, State Affiliate in One Week’s Time

The Education Intelligence Agency’s Mike Antonucci highlights some news from Iowa: teachers in the Earlham and Moravia school districts recently decertified their unions, so they are no longer affiliated with the National Education Association or Iowa State Education Association. The non-union Professional Educators of Iowa noted that it was the first time two districts in the state had decertified in the same week or even in the same year.

The event certainly isn’t a first, nor is it isolated to the state of Iowa. Learn more about the local-only union option here on our Independent Teachers website.

A Good Value?: National Education Association Spends $13 Million on Assorted Advocacy Groups

Member of a local teachers union in Colorado? Then most likely (unless you belong to the AFT) $166 of your dues this year is going straight to National Education Association headquarters in Washington, D.C. What is some of your money used for — when not funding negative political ads during election season, that is?

As he faithfully does every year, the Education Intelligence Agency’s Mike Antonucci hones in on NEA’s reported contributions, noting that in fiscal year 2009-10 it represents “more than $13 million to a wide variety of advocacy groups and charities to advocacy groups.” While Antonucci offers up the full list of 130 organizations, here’s a small alphabetically-sorted sample:

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