Tip of the Iceberg — Teachers in IL need Right to Work!

Kyle Olsen takes an in-depth look at union disclosure forms for the Illinois Teacher’s union and finds why the union bosses hate to disclose their spending orgy to union members.

The Illinois Education Association is reeling from a very bad 2009-2010 fiscal year, caused in no small part by the union’s exorbitant expenditures on parties, meetings and salaries, Education Action Group recently found.

In its annual LM-2 report, on file with the United States Department of Labor, the IEA reveals that it started the previous fiscal year with $2.6 million in net assets, and just 12 months later is in the hole by $11.8 million.

A number of factors apparently contributed to the union’s sudden financial plunge. It’s pension liability for its employees skyrocketed over the past year, from $8.2 million in 2009 to $26.6 million in 2010.

But the report also reveals that IEA officials spent freely on salaries and benefits for high-ranking staff members, as well as social events the union hosted in Chicago, San Diego and New Orleans.

An examination of the report reveals that 98 people on the union’s payroll made more than $100,000 last year in “gross salary disbursements and disbursements for official business.”  That list included 61 “Uniserv” directors, who are regional managers for the union.

And that’s just for starters. The IEA spent over $500,000 on hotels and meals during fiscal year 2009-2010.

Of all the IEA meetings listed on the report, its May 18, 2010 meeting at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Chicago must have been a doozy. During that session, the union dropped $168,278 on meals, lodging and other non-itemized transactions.

Just three months later, the IEA had another meeting at the Town and Country Resort in San Diego.  The union showed a little more restraint, spending only $92,020 during that conference.

On April 12, 2010 and again on June 28, 2010, the IEA hosted “Illinois Night” in a New Orleans bar, amassing a combined tab of $30,054.

The IEA also spent $902,924 on political activities and lobbying, some of which went to pay for its April 21, 2010 rally at the state capitol, where the union demanded higher taxes so the state could spend more on K-12 education.

Given the union’s big-spending ways, their spring rally at the state capitol makes sense.  More education funding would mean more school employees, and more employees would produce more union dues. Those dues would help refill the IEA’s severely depleted bank account.

The union is living large off its members.  If the average Illinois teacher knew how his or her union dues were being spent, they’d be disgusted.

This report shows that the Illinois Education Association is fiscally irresponsible.  Given their free-spending ways, it’s no wonder that union officials think public education is underfunded.