NEA Faces Sixth Consecutive Year of Membership Loss

NEA Faces Sixth Consecutive Year of Membership Loss

NEA Faces Sixth Consecutive Year of Membership Loss

Six years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME affirmed the First Amendment right of public employees to revoke union membership and decline dues deductions without fear of losing their job. Every year since, thousands of public school teachers have turned their backs on America’s largest labor union.

A coincidence? Not at all.

Considering the National Education Association’s (NEA) willful prioritization of a radical political agenda over member representation, as evidenced by the union’s latest financial report, the only surprise is that more teachers aren’t throwing in the towel. Then again, maybe they are.

NEA’s spending during the 2022-2023 school year made one thing clear: Big Labor’s political agenda takes precedence over the workplace concerns of teachers. The union transferred a shocking $176 million of membership fees directly from the pockets of teachers to ideologically divisive candidates and causes. Political spending burned 34 percent of NEA’s annual budget. Comparatively, an underwhelming eight percent was reserved for “representational activities”:

Unsurprisingly, the union’s top three political contributions benefited organizations more interested in left-wing politics than the wellbeing of teachers:

Progressive interest groups weren’t the only beneficiaries of NEA’s manifest generosity. On a more personal level, NEA president Becky Pringle pocketed $495,787 in 2023, an increase of $46,250 over the prior year. By comparison, according to the NEA, the average starting teacher salary is $42,844.

Attempting to balance its irresponsible spending, NEA increased membership dues once again, placing additional financial burdens on teachers who generally pay more than $1,000 in union fees each year.

It’s clear that NEA has long forgotten the wellbeing of teachers, instead embracing its role as an ideologically divisive political advocacy group while union members foot the bill. And for many, enough is enough. During the 2022-23 school year alone, 12,287 teachers parted ways with the NEA, bringing the union’s membership losses since Janus to well over 220,000.

If NEA had its way, public school teachers would remain in the dark not only about the union’s extreme political bias, but their First Amendment right to avoid subsidizing political activity through membership dues. Luckily, teachers have an ally when it comes to freedom of association in the workplace. 

The Freedom Foundation firmly believes that our public servants deserve to make an informed decision about union membership. Each year, our educational outreach campaigns strive to ensure public employees know that an escape from Big Labor’s rampant political exploitation is possible. Through 15,592,937 emails, 7,763,911 pieces of mail, 30,042 phone calls, and 29,829 face to face meetings, the Foundation’s outreach team guaranteed that in 2023, an unprecedented number of workers were informed about their First Amendment rights.

As a result, more than 35,000 public employees parted ways with government unions last year thanks to the Foundation’s handiwork, contributing heavily to NEA’s losses.

So long as the NEA shelves workplace rights in favor of political gain at the expense of school teachers, the Freedom Foundation will ensure that educators are equipped with the resources necessary to make an informed choice about union membership.

At this rate, if NEA’s dysfunctional priorities continue, it’s only a matter of time before the union’s membership losses become irreversible.