Government unions divert dues to leftist politics
Behind the scenes of even the most altruistic churches and charities, you’re likely to find a sophisticated fundraising and accounting operation. This is because, no matter how noble the objectives enumerated in your mission statement may be, it’s hard to accomplish them when the office lights are turned off and the windows are shuttered.
The trick is balancing the level of resources necessary to cover reasonable overhead expenses with making sure the rest is allocated to advance the organization’s stated goal.
And only that goal.
By that standard, while America’s largest government employee unions claim to be neither church nor charity, they’re not the selfless champions for working men and women their propagandists would have you believe, either.
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Take, for example, the National Education Association, whose website describes it as an “advocate for education professionals” with a goal of “improving the quality of teaching, increasing student achievement and making schools safer, better places to learn.”
And yet the nation’s largest teacher’s union last year devoted only a measly 8.5 percent of its revenues to anything remotely connected with teachers and students, with the rest used to line the pockets of union leaders and advance a radical leftist agenda at odds with the views of many of NEA’s own dues-payers — and arguably most of the nation’s parents.
According to the most recent LM-2 form submitted by the NEA to the Internal Revenue Service, the union raked in a staggering $377 million in dues and agency fees during 2021 alone.
Of that total, however, only $32 million was earmarked for representational activity — ostensibly the NEA’s top priority.
So where did the rest of all the teachers’ dues money go? By the union’s own accounting, it spent $66 million on political activities.
Let that sink in for a minute. The NEA diverted twice as much of its members’ dues money to greedy politicians as it spent on actual representational activities. And it didn’t bother asking which candidates and causes to support, either. Historically, the union backs radical liberals about 99 percent of the time, no matter what its members might actually prefer.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The LM-2 also lists another $117 million spent for “contributions, gifts and grants,” that were primarily political in nature. Even more despicably, the NEA dispersed more than $55 million in benefits to union officers. That’s almost twice as much as it spent advocating for the teachers from whose paychecks the dues were confiscated.
And the NEA is hardly alone.
According to InfluenceWatch.com, the nation’s second-largest teachers union, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is also … “a major funder of liberal political causes and Democratic political candidates both through political action committees and union dues … (T)he AFT’s political committees spent over $79 million to help Democrats get elected to federal office from the beginning of Federal Election Commission records through November 2016. Of AFT’s total federal contributions, over 99 percent supported Democrats.”
But wait, there’s more.
With 1.9 million members, the Service Employees International Union is the single largest union representing the nation’s government workforce. And according to Americans for Fair Treatment, “In 2020, $1 out of every $5 of [SEIU] members’ dues collected went toward progressive candidates and causes. Only 12 percent of total spending went toward representational activities for existing members, like negotiating contracts or handling grievance claims.”
Likewise, the dues paid to the American Federation of State, Local and Municipal Employees support a variety of leftist political and ideological advocacy groups and causes around the country. Contributions to political organizations totaled at least $14 million in 2019, according to AFSCME’s financial report. But once again, millions more were also logged as “contributions, gifts and grants” to those groups.
It goes on, but you get the idea.
Small wonder the unions are so protective about their finances. Not only would the average American be horrified to discover the extent to which a relative handful of labor organizations control the country’s political processes, but their own members would likely be appalled to learn how little of the dues money confiscated from their every paycheck is spent advocating for higher wages and better working conditions.
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Nor is it any surprise these unions are also devoting significant resources to preserving their membership numbers in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2018 ruling in Janus v. AFSCME recognizing that union membership and dues can no longer be required for public employees.
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With billions of dues dollars and their very existence hanging in the balance, union leaders are fighting like the cornered animals they are.
The sad truth is that unions claiming to represent America’s teachers and millions of unelected public employees working at every level of the country’s government these days do only as little as necessary to maintain the illusion they care as much about their members as they do the radical leftist political agenda they fund with someone else’s hard-earned dollars.
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE BY AARON WITHE