The NEA RA. Random thoughts.

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As a delegate to the 2011 NEA RA surrounded by my friends in leadership.

Mike Antonucci, NEA union gadfly and reporter for his blog, is having a great time being banned from the press section of the Boston RA.

Look. It was a dopey move by the leadership. I’m thinking Mike is loving it.  Antonucci makes note of the irony in a tweet today.

It’s not as if the press section is overflowing with reporters. At my last convention a couple of years ago I went looking for Education Week’s Stephen Sawchuk who was writing as if he was there, only to discover he had left a couple days before the convention was over.

I should have been so lucky. I was there for three days of an NEA Retired meeting and then five more of the RA.

My sympathy for the anti-union Antonucci has limits. Aside from the fact that he should be allowed to cover the meeting as he has done for two decades (some strange fetish I would say) we agree on little else.

Bloggers, pro and anti-union, get little respect from the NEA.  As most readers would agree, I am as pro-union as you get. Still, former IEA Communications Director banned my blog from ever having a link on the IEA website (even if they published something I wrote), and blocked me from all his Twitter and Facebook accounts.

One year, I got ejected from a state Representative Assembly because only President Cinda Klickna had the power to allow me to be there.

It was a preview of Trump White House press briefings.

I got blocked when I discovered the fact on the Communications Director’s post that IEA Executive Director Audrey Soglin was on some board of some group that attacked what they called “teacher quality.” This was right about the time Audrey was cutting deals with Stand for Children’s Jonah Edelman.

So, while Antonucci should get his seat in the press section (In fact, he should be forced to sit through all the nonsense. Every debate, speech and pointless video. Not even a bathroom break or greasy pizza slice.), the bigger problem with the NEA is member democracy within the national and state affiliates.

They call this yearly show the largest democratic assembly in the world. But the democratic aspects are pretty cosmetic. I appreciate the intent of those who struggle to educate members through one New Business Item or another. But it is what my father used to call when he got cranky, “the pernicious theory of better than nothing.” Does anybody remember last year’s NBIs. Of course, not.

In Illinois, 600 delegates to a state meeting can elect the Association president. There are roughly 120,000 dues paying members in the IEA. 600 separate locals with over-worked, under-trained, mostly unpaid local leaders.

A challenge to the existing leadership?

There hasn’t been one in decades.

That is one way to tell if a union is democratic or not.

3 Replies to “The NEA RA. Random thoughts.”

  1. I don’t know about the “serious challenge” comment, Fred. There were serious candidates challenging the status quo this year. The main problem is the old leadership has been masterful at surrounding themselves with “yes” people and their sheep. The sheep can’t see how feckless leadership has been for years now. The IEA has a leadership problem in a big way. The current President and Vice President can be substituted for Sominex if needed and the Secretary-Treasurer is a “yes” man who, when serving as an NEA Director voted for the undemocratic early Hilliary endorsement, because “he needed to make sure we got a seat at the table.” There are IEA members that do not think like the current ineffectual executive board. I am one of them. I will continue to work from the inside as hard as I can to wake up the membership to the challenges we face and the fact that our current leadership is not the answer to overcoming those challenges.

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