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NEA Supports AT&T Merger
posted by: Ruthie | June 16, 2011, 04:26 PM   

What do AT&T and several liberal advocacy groups have in common? According to recent news, organizations including the NAACP, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and the National Education Association have all issued public statements of support in a new multi-billion dollar merger between telecom heavyweights AT&T and T Mobile.

Last Tuesday, NEA President Van Roekel issued a statement supporting the merger, saying, "Good news for business is not always good news for consumers, but this merger represents a win for everyone." What in the world would make the NEA's Van Roekel release a statement of support for a private company with no ties to teachers or education?

One reporter from Politico, Eliza Krigman, investigated the bizarre circumstances surrounding the support of prominent liberal groups for the business merger. In her quest for answers, she learned that many of them received contributions from AT&T over the years. The NEA Foundation alone received $75,000 from AT&T last year.

Van Roekel further claims in his statement of support, "AT&T partners with its employees to maintain a productive pro-worker environment that results in success for the corporation and good jobs for workers and support for students. This merger will have positive and long -lasting effects and America's students will be among the biggest winners." That seems like a stretch to us. Certainly the way the wind blows will affect the students of this country as well.

In reality, the merger is a business maneuver, not a decision made in the interest of students and teachers. The NEA recognizes that securing a powerful corporate ally would be highly advantageous in the lobbying and campaign battles to come, especially with their recent lobbying failures in states across the country.

Clearly this is just another prominent example of the NEA failing to live up to its mission of supporting teachers. Using teacher dues to fight for more money and power is unfortunately just business as usual for the NEA.

Do you think of the NEA's decision to support the AT&T/ T Mobile Merger?
Comment below.

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