Follow AAE on:

Subscribe to RSS Feed:

Wisconsin NEA Affiliate In the National Spotlight
posted by: Alix | August 16, 2011, 06:12 PM   

Since the labor battle erupted in Wisconsin in February, the state has been considered ground zero for the sweeping education and labor reform legislation debated nationwide. With new revelations from political spending watchdog groups and the state's NEA affiliate themselves, the Wisconsin Education Association Council is once again making national headlines for its fall from a onetime lobbying powerhouse to incurring massive layoffs.

A recent report by the Associated Press puts lobbying costs and spending by the state's NEA affiliate, WEAC, atop all political entities in the state of Wisconsin. Even before February, WEAC spent $2.5 million on lobbying between 2009 and 2010, years when Democrats were in control of all government chambers, according to analysis by the Government Accountability Board.

The figures are stunning when taking into account the political landscape in the Badger State pre-Governor Walker and the Republican takeover in the legislature. In 2009 for example, when Governor Jim Doyle and other Democrats controlled the Senate and the Assembly, WEAC's presence at the Capitol was already dominant. According to disclosures, WEAC spent 12,364 hours lobbying during the 2009-2010 time period, which averages to 17 hours a day every day for two years.

At $2.5 million, WEAC spent more than twice as much as Big Tobacco, and nearly three times that of Wisconsin's big business conglomerate, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce. To put these numbers in perspective, a large portion of these funds are directly derived from the paychecks of teachers, by way of the taxpayers of Wisconsin purely for the purpose of union politicking, not to stock classrooms or help students.

Despite their tireless work lobbying for their own interests and blocking education and labor reforms, Governor Walker's budget repair bill is now law; allowing teachers in Wisconsin the right to choose whether or not they want to belong to WEAC. As a result, thousands of teachers have chosen to exercise that right, leaving WEAC perhaps millions of dollars short in revenue from forced dues.

Yesterday, it was announced that 40 percent of the WEAC staff was laid off due to their own budget shortfalls. After the millions spent on lobbying last year, with another $500,000 spent on the recall elections, WEAC is now struggling to survive under a climate where teachers are allowed to evaluate whether union membership aligns with their beliefs and budget.

Every day since the news broke in Wisconsin, AAE has welcomed educators from across Wisconsin who are seeking a non-partisan, affordable alternative to WEAC. We welcome those teachers and ask teachers like them to examine the difference for themselves.

Do you think WEAC's downfall will spread to other states?
Comment below.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Submit a comment
 (not published)
smaller | bigger

security code
Write the displayed characters