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NEA: Where Do Your Union Dues Go?

A Look at the National Education Association’s (NEA) Spending, 2020-2021

The National Education Association’s (NEA) political and charitable spending in 2020-2021 makes the NEA look more like a political organization than a membership organization. The union spent $2 on politics for every $1 it spent on representing its members.

Last year, the NEA spent $374 million overall, 18% of which went to political activities, while another 32% went to “contributions, gifts, and grants,” spending that is also largely political in nature. Only 9% of the union’s spending was on “representational activities,” or money that is spent directly to assist its members.

The NEA donates members’ dues to a long list of progressive political organizations that support Democratic candidates and causes. The NEA’s political spending increased by 32% from the year before, from $51 million up to $66 million, which does not include the money the union collected for its political action committee (PAC) or the political spending listed in other categories.

For example, the NEA gave $1 million last year to Future Forward USA Action, a liberal super PAC that supported Joe Biden’s presidential campaign. The NEA did not list this donation under political spending, but rather under “contributions, gifts, and grants.”

During the 2020-2021 school year, the NEA collected $377 million in dues from school employees, about $2 million higher than last year, despite having 65,416 fewer members. This is due in part to higher dues.

The NEA has 510 employees who earned an average salary of $134,000. Of those employees, 50 received salaries over $200,000, including NEA President Becky Pringle, who earned $431,317, and Executive Director Kimberly Anderson who earned $406,951.

NEA spend $2 on politics for every $1 spent representing members
NEA spend $2 on politics for every $1 spent representing members
18% spent on political activities; 32% spent on contributions, gifts, & grants
Only 9% of union spending was directed towards assisting members

Who Is Getting Your NEA Dues Money?

Political spending increased by 32% from $51M in 2020 to $66M in 2021
50 received salaries $200k+

NEA charges its members $200 a year on top of local and state charges – often adding up to close to $1,000 a year in total cost. Members’ dues fund a web of political and ideological advocacy groups and causes around the country. This is money collected as regular dues, not as PAC contributions. According to the NEA’s financial report, the union contributed $66 million in 2020-2021 to political organizations, a $16 million increase from the year before. Another $117 million in spending was logged as “contributions, gifts and grants,” a significant portion of which also went to political organizations.

NEA spending allocation (2020-2021)

Here are just a few big-ticket examples of the web of progressive and Democratic Party causes your NEA dues funded from September 1, 2020 through August 31, 2021:

NEA recent political donations