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Support for your local

The following is an excerpt from our Saturday email, which includes our musings on the latest developments impacting public employees, links to that week’s labor news, and a collection of whimsical reads for your weekend. If you’d like to receive our weekly email, you can use the sign-up form at the bottom of this page. We promise to respect your inbox, and we will never share your email address.

I had the pleasure of spending time with some teachers in Connecticut this week. Apart from enjoying the beautiful fall foliage and ocean views in Mystic, we talked about their experiences in the union.

All of them have left the union. What may surprise you, however, is many of them still voluntarily write a check every year to their local union. Their local union reps are their friends and colleagues and believe it or not, most teachers who have left their union still appreciate the work their local does bargaining on their behalf.

Unfortunately, most dues don’t stay at the local level. Our friends in Connecticut who are members of the Connecticut Education Association (CEA) on average pay $200 to the National Education Association, $500 to the CEA, and less than $150 to their local union each year. Less than 20% of their dues stay at the local level.

In Pennsylvania, of the average $800 in annual dues paid by teachers, only about 10% stays with the local union. $532 goes to the state union – PSEA – and $192 goes to the NEA.

AFT chapter members in New York pay an average of $1200 per year in union dues. Of that, less than 40% stays with the local union, $183 goes to the state union, NYSUT, and $552 goes to the national AFT and AFL-CIO.

State and national unions hurt their local affiliates when they spend millions on polarizing politics each year. They pit colleagues against each other and politicize classrooms instead of giving teachers what they truly want – representation and support.

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Isabel Blank

Isabel Blank is Communications Director at Americans for Fair Treatment, a community of current and former public-sector employees offering resources and support to exercise their First Amendment rights. Prior to joining Americans for Fair Treatment in 2021, Isabel worked in media relations at Travelers Insurance and held government affairs and communications roles with Yankee Institute. She has a master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor’s degree in political science and Spanish, both from the University of Connecticut (Go Huskies!). Isabel loves Crossfit and supporting her local Connecticut breweries.