In 2020, while the pandemic kept most of America’s classrooms closed and kids at home, teachers’ union officials and staff spent heavily on politics and paid themselves handsomely.
In 2020, as the COVID-19 lockdowns crushed small businesses and forced millions of schoolchildren out of the classrooms, the nation’s largest union, the National Education Association (NEA) spent tens of millions on political activities and lobbying, according to reports on file with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).
According to the NEA’s annual report to the DOL, the union raked in nearly $375 million in union dues and agency fees from America’s teachers, while it spent nearly $51 million* on “political activities and lobbying.”
* Note: This amount is for the NEA national headquarters and does not include any state or local chapters of the NEA.
Despite the fact that public school unions are indirectly paid through taxes (from the dues paid by public school employees) as many of America’s taxpayers lost their jobs during the height of the pandemic or were forced to stay home to provide child care due to school closures, the teachers’ unions fought against reopenings, even threatening at one point to strike if schools reopened.
“In Chicago, the teachers union challenged the city’s reopening plans in arbitration,” reported the Washington Post last October. “In the District of Columbia, the union has resisted efforts to bring even small numbers of elementary schoolchildren back.”
Meanwhile, nearly 500 NEA officers and staff at the union’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. appear to have continued collecting their salaries without any reduction, with the union’s president raking in over $400,000 in total compensation in 2020.
It appears the teachers unions’ expenditures in political activities and lobbying are paying off for the unions.
In May, the New York Post broke a story about the NEA’s and American Federation of Teachers union influencing the Biden administration and Centers for Disease Control on reopening plans.