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Union actions speak louder than words

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.

Union leaders and activists have led many to believe that Big Labor has workers’ best interests at heart. If you’ve been following us for a while, you know that unfortunately, that is not true. In fact, there have been multiple incidents where unions have mistreated their own employees. 
Most recently, the National Education Association (NEA) has been under fire. 
The union is facing internal strife as its staff union, NEASO, accuses management of failing to uphold union values. NEASO’s contract with NEA expired on May 31st, prompting negotiations that have stalled.  
The union alleges that NEA management is employing tactics typically used against workers, such as delaying negotiations, maintaining an expired contract, and outsourcing union work to non-union vendors. NEASO has cited instances of racial and gender discrimination within negotiations, despite NEA’s public commitment to social justice.  
The situation has escalated to the point where NEASO members have authorized strike action and engaged in protests at NEA headquarters. 
This isn’t the first instance of unions mishandling internal labor relations. SEIU has also dealt with strikes from their own employees after being accused of “union busting.”  
In light of these troubling stories, it is clear that the issues plaguing the NEA and SEIU are not isolated incidents but symptomatic of broader issues within large, national unions.

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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.