Teacher Union Bosses’ Hatred of Right to Work Laws Is Understandable

As Mike Antonucci of the Education Intelligence Agency reported on Tuesday (see the link below), Becky Pringle, secretary-treasurer of the three million-member National Education Association (NEA) teacher union, admitted to delegates arriving at the giant union’s annual convention early this week that the NEA “will continue to lose members next year.”

Ms. Pringle added, “We are worried, most especially about our large affiliates.”

Of course, because of the monopoly-bargaining privileges they continue to wield in the vast majority of states and the forced-dues power they exercise over teachers in nearly half of the states, the NEA union elite will surely continue to have enormous clout over America’s schools and push around politicians at the local, state and federal levels for many years to come.  It would be very foolish to exaggerate teacher union bosses’ troubles.

Nevertheless, it’s worth asking why the NEA’s largest affiliates, which are located overwhelmingly in forced-unionism stronghold states, would be losing the most union members.

A big part of the answer can be derived from U.S. Census Bureau data.  They show that, from 2002 to 2012, the number of K-12 school-aged children (that is, 5-17 year-olds) across the U.S. edged up by 0.8%, from 53.28 million to 53.73 million.  However, the 22 states that had Right to Work laws on the books barring forced union dues and fees throughout the period saw their aggregate school-aged population grow by 1.7 million, or 8.3%.  Meanwhile, the number of school-aged children living in the 27 states that lacked Right to Work laws throughout the period fell by nearly 1.3 million, or 4.0%.  (Indiana, whose Right to Work law took effect in early 2012, is excluded.)

Among the 22 Right to Work states, only Hurricane Katrina-ravaged Louisiana saw its K-12 population decrease by more than 1.7%.  Meanwhile, 18 forced-unionism states saw their population aged 5-17 fall by 1.8% or more.  Eleven forced-unionism states had plummets of 5% or more.

For years, parents seeking better economic opportunities for themselves and their children have been fleeing forced-unionism states in droves.  The result is fewer kids in schools in Big Labor stronghold states like California, Illinois, Ohio, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and, ultimately, fewer jobs for teachers and other education professionals.  And that fact alone means the forced dues-paying ranks of the NEA teacher union empire are likely to continue gradually shrinking for the foreseeable future.

NEA Convention: “We Will Continue to Lose Members Next Year”