AFFT’s “Where Do Your Dues Go” research series, and quotes from AFFT members, were cited in a letter to the editor to LehighValleyLive.com:
Nationally, the political spending of the country’s largest teachers’ union tells a tale. In 2020-21, the National Education Association spent $2 on political activity for every $1 spent on member representational activity. What’s more, the NEA’s political spending increased by approximately 30% from the previous year – from $51 million to $66 million. And this spending represents only dues money, not PAC money raised separately.
Ironically, unions’ growing spending on politics – and in support of radical policies – is driving dues-paying members away.
Americans for Fair Treatment (AFFT), a nonprofit organization that helps public employees understand and exercise their rights regarding union membership, has shared multiple stories of public employees who learned firsthand that their union was more concerned with advancing a political ideology than with serving its members.
Kim Lewin, a school librarian in Chester County, left her union in part due to frustrations over how much of her membership dues went to political activity. “Voting is ultimately a private choice,” she told AFFT. “I don’t want to do letter writing campaigns for the preferred candidate of the union. I don’t want my job dictating who I vote for.”
Dave Chaump, a longtime music teacher in Lackawanna County, was frustrated that the teachers’ union wasn’t using his $900 in annual dues to negotiate better salaries for him and other teachers. He didn’t like that the union prioritized far-left political activity over helping students get a great education.
“It sounds crazy,” he told AFFT, “but life as a member of the PSEA [Pennsylvania State Education Association] was like a Hollywood script about some cult brainwashing its members in order to maintain power. Leaders guarded information like state secrets and frowned upon questions or dissent. Independent political thought contrary to the official PSEA company line was unwelcome, and groupthink reigned.”
You can read the full letter to the editor here.