The Examiner U-46 News Feed
Teacher’s union takes active stands at meeting
By Seth Hancock
A year after the Supreme Court ruling in Janus v. AFSCME, the nation’s largest teacher’s union has doubled down on partisan politics at its annual meeting of the National Education Association (NEA) this year in Houston, held on June 27 through July 7.
The Janus decision came on June 27, 2018 with the courts stating that public sector employees could not be forced to join unions or pay fees as non-union workers.
Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the majority after the 5-4 decision, stated that forcing non-union workers to pay union fees violated “the free speech rights of nonmembers by compelling them to subsidize private speech on matters of substantial public concern.”
Since the ruling, several public sector unions have taken a hit including the Illinois Education Association (IEA) which has seen a loss of over 5,000 teachers paying dues or fees according to preliminary estimates from federal filings.
Historically, the NEA has consistently shown disdain for traditional values and the family from the early 1900s to today. In 1903, John D. Rockefeller helped fund the NEA and said: “I don’t want a nation of thinkers. I want a nation of workers.”
In the 1930s, honorary NEA president John Dewey advocated for the end of Christianity and the creation of a “new world religion,” and Goodwin Watson said teachers need “to indoctrinate children to overthrow ‘conservative reactionaries’” at the 1938 NEA convention. NEA spokesman Mary Faber called conservatives and religious Americans “extremists” in 1990, and NEA spokesman Diane Schneider said in 2011: “Oral sex, masturbation and orgasms need to be taught in education. The only way to combat heterosexism and gender conformity is comprehensive sex education. Gender identity expression and sexual orientation are a spectrum and those opposed to homosexuality are stuck in a binary box that religion and family create.”
At this year’s NEA meeting, which included a delegation from Elgin Teachers Association (ETA) members from School District U-46, the trend continued as the union approved of a series of resolutions dedicating itself to partisan, leftwing political causes while voting down other resolutions dedicated to educating students.
The union approved of a resolution stating that the “NEA vigorously opposes all attacks on the right to choose and stands on the fundamental right to abortion under Roe v. Wade.”
In contrast, the union opposed a resolution stating it would “re-dedicate itself to the pursuit of increased student learning in every public school in America by putting a renewed emphasis on quality education. NEA will make student learning the priority of the Association.”
Lily García, the NEA’s president, said “political action” is “the essence” of the NEA and “we will use our collective power to listen and learn and teach and reach and engage and organize.” In the 2018 election cycle, the NEA made 98.8 percent ($20.5 million) of its political contributions to Democrat candidates.
The NEA did approve of an amendment to its constitution to allow membership to “non-educators” who would only be allowed to “donate to the NEA’s political action committee.”
U-46 did not allocate funds to send ETA members to the NEA meeting according to a response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
“There is no cost to the district for the NEA conference,” said Anna Pasternak, the district’s FOIA officer. “The unions pay to send attendees.”
According to the ETA’s website, there were 13 NEA delegates elected including Carol Mammoser, Sandy Citron, Marty Renteria, Isabel Torres, Sarah Madson, Anthony LaRue, Maryellyn Friel, Joyce Juenger, Kathy Cebulski, Maritza Perez, Will Vega, Heather Flick and Pamela Tonyan. There are five alternates including Heather Rocen, Bonnie Grafer, Kristi Giannotti, Ann-Alissa Green and Carol Menconi.
The 2018-2019 budget for IEA Region 24, the ETA’s region in that organization, allocated $46,100 to send 17 delegates to the NEA meeting. The estimated total funds for that budget is $65,321 which is $14,000 less than the previous year.
The NEA supported several other politically-charged resolutions including the support of reparations, blaming the U.S. government for the “destabilization of Central American countries,” support for gay education starting in kindergarten, support for Black Lives Matter and accusing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency of “human rights violations” and operating “concentration camps” among many other resolutions. The NEA supports “white fragility” as well as “social, gender, LGBTQIA, and racial justice” training as well as racial discrimination in hiring practices.
Employees do have the right to opt out of funding unions all together now, but the Washington Policy Center warns that “government unions are using fine print to trick public employees into paying them, pushing them to sign vaguely-worded ‘member’ cards.”
The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation has provided a sample letter that government workers can use to opt out of their unions.
The foundation’s website states: “You can resign by simply submitting to your union a written letter stating that you are doing so. If you have authorized payroll deduction of your dues, you would also have to notify your employer that you wish to revoke that authorization. If you signed the authorization less than a year ago, or if it renews automatically each year, revocation may not be effective until the end of the current authorization year. It is advisable to obtain a copy of your payroll authorization and review it.”
If a union refuses to honor a resignation an unfair labor practice charge can be filed against it.