Freedom Foundation

After Spending Itself into a $37-Million Hole, WEA’s Financial Credibility Is Shot

The Washington Education Association (WEA) has been militant about how the state should conduct its financial business. Likewise, WEA aggressively hijacked school district budgeting priorities.

Now, many districts are going broke because of payroll overcommitments.

WEA has no credibility on matters of fiscal balance. The organization has serious runaway financial liabilities and engages in deficit spending of its own.

If WEA can’t keep its own financial house in order, imagine how recklessly it wants to spend public dollars.

Last summer, the union attempted to sell its 59,000-square-foot headquarters building in Federal Way and to lease it from the buyer. The goal was to consolidate its activities to use only 75 percent of the building.

The need to do this is driven by net assets of negative$28 million. This giant financial hole is partially due to deficit spending of nearly a quarter million dollars in 2016 ($1.9 million previous year).

The main reason for WEA’s financial problem is $60 million in future pension and benefit obligations the WEA owes its employees. Operating costs for WEA employees are also showing an alarming trend:

$16.0 million for 197 employees in 2014
$19.8 million for 193 employees in 2015
$20.7 million for 186 employees in 2016

Not surprisingly, this is exactly the disaster the WEA is imposing on public schools in Washington – unsustainable growth of wages coupled with a reduction of the number of employees.

Washington residents – and most teachers – would much rather see sensible wage gains along with enhanced services and supports.

Meanwhile, in the report of top salaries provided to the IRS, WEA shows 15 of employees compensated at more than $200,000 each.

Of course, WEA’s financial troubles are exacerbated by the newly affirmed right of teachers to resist paying roughly $1,000 per year in dues to the union. The Freedom Foundation continues to inform educators that these overcharges for a bloated organization are optional (OptOutToday.com/WEA).

WEA executives are going to have to adapt to the new reality of earning its clients’ business rather than simply confiscating whatever they please, and that will mean emphasizing worker services rather than nest-feathering and funding pet extreme causes.

WEA by the numbers – 2017 IRS 990 form:

-$64,246,258 liabilities (debt/financial obligations primarily due to pension and benefit obligations)
186 employees.
$20.7 million in employee compensation costs
$272,246 compensation of Executive Director, Armand Tiberio
$292,067 compensation of Director of Government Relations, James Regan
$970,814 reported political campaign activities
$9,009,429 land, building & improvements
$40,611,281 total revenue from all sources

Causes supported by general dues:

$203,500 Class Size Counts, advocacy group for school hiring
$100,000 Raise Up Washington, campaign for government price controls on wages
$50,000 Paramount Duty, lobbying organization for taxes and collective bargaining preeminence
$38,000 Washington State Labor Council
$25,000 Economic Opportunity Institute, socialism advocacy group
$25,000 Step Forward
$10,000 Opportunity for Olympia, Olympia income tax campaign
$5,220 Equal Right Washington, LGBTQ advocacy
$5,000 Washington State Budget & Policy Center, advocacy group for redistributive policies
$5,000 One America, advocating for diverse communities, immigrants & refugees