Red state teacher revolt. Why did the NEA hide the support page?

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West Virginia teachers, 2018. Photo: Intelligencer, NY Magazine.

2018 was the year of the Red State Teacher Revolt.

Tens of thousands of teachers across the country in right-to-work states, where collective bargaining is illegal, took to the streets.

It was inspiring.

One of those who was inspired was Evanston teacher, Clare Kelly.

Clare and her teacher colleague Trisha Connolly, NEA members and delegates to last years NEA Representative Assembly had this idea where rank-and-file union members could demonstrate material support for their striking comrades.

Their idea was for the RA to direct the NEA leadership to establish a fund and members could contribute. The minimum contribution would be $3 a year. The NEA has three million members.

Do the math.

If only a third of the members signed up for the contribution then the NEA would have a three million dollar strike fund.

The 2018 delegates voted in favor of the idea.

Now for those teachers who walked out in 2018 things are still going on.

Take West Virginia.

In 2018, West Virginia teachers helped set a precedent for other underpaid educators when they launched a historic statewide walkout. Now state Republicans seem determined to set a precedent of their own — by using a special legislative session to advance education-reform bills, in what teachers have criticized as a retaliatory gesture. As of Monday afternoon, the bills are still being amended and the situation is fluid, but members of the West Virginia House of Delegates are considering provisions that would create some education savings accounts and a limited number of charter schools, in addition to creating new penalties for teachers who go on strike. Teachers, meanwhile, are protesting again. (School is not in session, so Monday’s demonstrations are not a walkout.)

That three million dollar strike fund would sure come in handy in West Virginia right now.

Only the leadership buried the proposal where no member could possibly find it.

Try searching the IEA or the NEA web pages for the donation location.

Clare got a report from the NEA as to what happened to her proposal.

Voluntary Donation for Statewide Work Actions

The RA directs NEA to establish a voluntary $3.00 (or more) membership donation to establish a fund to support statewide work actions and/or strikes such as in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Arizona, and North Carolina. NEA will work with local and state affiliates to develop and promote a process to transmit these funds to NEA for disbursement (2018-122).

 

Completed (Assigned to Center for Organizing and Center for Innovation and Technology)

After considerable cross-Center collaboration to ensure protections for members’ confidential information and compliance with all regulatory guidelines for on-line credit card transactions, the donation page was launched on October 4, 2018. President Eskelsen García notified state affiliate presidents and provided a sample e-mail to share information about the voluntary donation page. The donation page (https://www.neafund.org/stateactionfund) is linked from NEA’s Red for Ed webpage (http://neatoday.org/redfored/), which provides members with information on the #RedForEd movement and multiple action opportunities to support students, schools, and members. As this document went to print, $910 had been donated to the fund. Requests for grants for state-wide actions will be received by the NEA Center for Organizing and forwarded to the President and Executive Director for review and approval.

That’s right. $910.

Don’t blame the members. Most had no idea about the fund.

The story about what is going on in West Virginia today was forwarded to me.

By the IEA.

The leadership of the IEA is among those who never made an effort to raise a dime or publicize the strike fund.

5 thoughts on “Red state teacher revolt. Why did the NEA hide the support page?

    1. While the strike fund is an excellent idea in theory, having the NEA administer and oversee the fund may not be. What complicates the issue of a NEA strike fund for me is their track record of endorsing political candidates, etc., whose platform is not supportive to public education. Additionally, their behavior of ‘hiding’ the fund’s existence makes it obvious they don’t want to be bothered [perhaps because it wouldn’t be a discretionary fund?]. Also, I’m not convinced that dues are really going to help the rank and file as much as it is to enrich the NEA and state leadership. Surely I’m not alone in asking ‘can we afford to give them any more money given their current track record?’ If there was another way to collect for the strike fund without NEA oversight/collection I’d be all in, as might others, but I’m at a loss as to what would be some options. Perhaps others have some ideas.

      1. It catches one of the essential contradictions of the NEA. A rank-and-file driven plan to raise 3 million dollars, used at the leadership’s discretion. And the leadership fucks it up.

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