Although the Louisiana Association of Educators (LAE) and Louisiana Federation of Teachers (LFT) largely stayed on the sidelines during last year’s electoral contests, a review of campaign finance reports filed by their political action committees over the past 12 months provides some interesting insights on our state’s two teachers unions.
Here are some highlights…
I. Both unions amassed lots of campaign cash in 2016
Filings with the Louisiana Board of Ethics show that LAE’s political action committee ended the year with over $146,000 on hand, up from the $102,000 they started with in January. Meanwhile, LFT PAC saw its fund balance more than triple over the course of 2016, going from $38,000 in January to more than $131,000 by the end of December.
II. They helped repay loans Sen. Milkovich gave to his own campaign
State Senator John Milkovich (D-Shreveport) received more money from the teachers unions than any other legislator last year. LAE PAC and LFT PAC gave the freshman senator a total of $5000 in 2016, which was used to retire his campaign debts.
Milkovich, who was elected to office in 2015, drew headlines last year for his cuckoo beliefs, such as his insistence that the federal REAL ID Act is an “effort to create a national database to spy on people” and his claim that “scientific research and development and advances in the last hundred years…have validated the biblical story of creation.”
On the other hand, Milkovich is a strong opponent of the Common Core State Standards (on the grounds that they promote “agnosticism, socialism and moral relativism”) and serves on the Senate Education Committee, which might explain why the unions helped cover his campaign debts. Interestingly enough, the only debts listed on Milkovich’s most recent campaign finance report were loans that he made to his own campaign.
III. They gave way more to Democrats than the GOP
OK, this probably doesn’t come as a big surprise, but LAE and LFT’s PACs spent way more on contributions and fundraisers for the Louisiana Democratic Party than they did on contributions and fundraisers for Republicans. In total, the two unions steered almost $19,000 to LDP in 2016, while La. GOP walked away with a measly $1,250 from LAE PAC.
Explore the rest of the data from LAE PAC and LFT PAC below…
Louisiana Association of Educators PAC
The Louisiana Association of Educators is the state affiliate of the National Education Association, the largest teachers union in the United States. The data below covers the period from January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2016.
LAE PAC Receipts
|LOUISIANA ASSOCIATION OF EDUCATORS||Baton Rouge||LA||1/6/16||$9,312.81|
|LOUISIANA ASSOCIATION OF EDUCATORS||Baton Rouge||LA||2/5/16||$5,697.31|
|LOUISIANA ASSOCIATION OF EDUCATORS||Baton Rouge||LA||3/3/16||$9,012.68|
|LOUISIANA ASSOCIATION OF EDUCATORS||Baton Rouge||LA||4/7/16||$8,184.49|
|ANITA J AUGUSTUS||Baton Rouge||LA||4/27/16||$20.00|
|KAREN G BELL||Hammond||LA||4/27/16||$20.00|
|SUZANNE D BREAUX||Abbeville||LA||4/27/16||$20.00|
|JANET M BROUSSARD||New Iberia||LA||4/27/16||$20.00|
|JENNIFER R CHERAMIE||Thibodaux||LA||4/27/16||$20.00|
|PATRICIA A COLBERT- CORMIER||Lafayette||LA||4/27/16||$40.00|
|JENNIFER L DUGAL||Abbeville||LA||4/27/16||$5.00|
|DONALD G FONTENOT||Lake Charles||LA||4/27/16||$20.00|
|RACHEL M GIFFORD||Cullen||LA||4/27/16||$20.00|
|CRYSTAL GORDON||Port Allen||LA||4/27/16||$20.00|
|CHRISTINE N GREEN||Angie||LA||4/27/16||$20.00|
|LISA G HAYES||Denham Springs||LA||4/27/16||$20.00|
|CYNTHIA Y HENDERSON||Shreveport||LA||4/27/16||$20.00|
|GWENDOLYN A HILL||Baton Rouge||LA||4/27/16||$20.00|
|SHELIA A IRVIN||Darrow||LA||4/27/16||$20.00|
|ANTHONY G JACKSON||Jena||LA||4/27/16||$20.00|
|VICKY B JOHNSTON||Lake Charles||LA||4/27/16||$20.00|
|DOUGLAS E JONES||Angie||LA||4/27/16||$20.00|
|LAMONICA S JONES||West Monroe||LA||4/27/16||$20.00|
|LINDA A JONES||Abbeville||LA||4/27/16||$20.00|
|DAWN M JORDAN||Shreveport||LA||4/27/16||$20.00|
|CAMMIE M MATURIN||New Iberia||LA||4/27/16||$20.00|
|MICHAEL H MCCOY||Shreveport||LA||4/27/16||$20.00|
|DEBORAH MEAUX||Baton Rouge||LA||4/27/16||$100.00|
|TIA T MILLS||Baton Rouge||LA||4/27/16||$5.00|
|DENISE G MOULEDOUS||Abbeville||LA||4/27/16||$20.00|
|D’SHAY P OAKS||Vidalia||LA||4/27/16||$20.00|
|STEPHANIE D OWENS||Shreveport||LA||4/27/16||$40.00|
|JANICE R PEREA||Houma||LA||4/27/16||$5.00|
|FREDRICK L PINKNEY||Ruston||LA||4/27/16||$40.00|
|CHRISTINA E PRESLEY||Bossier City||LA||4/27/16||$40.00|
|KAREN J RICHARDSON||Kaplan||LA||4/27/16||$20.00|
|SUZETTE S RIDDLE||Abbeville||LA||4/27/16||$20.00|
|LUCIAN D ROBERSON||Shreveport||LA||4/27/16||$85.00|
|CYNDY W RUTHERFORD||Baton Rouge||LA||4/27/16||$20.00|
|SHERLEEN SANDERS||Baton Rouge||LA||4/27/16||$20.00|
|SARA SCOTT||Denham Springs||LA||4/27/16||$20.00|
|ROSLYNN A SEIBOLD||Montegut||LA||4/27/16||$100.00|
|ROSLYNN A SEIBOLD||Montegut||LA||4/27/16||$100.00|
|MELISSA G SIKES||Church Point||LA||4/27/16||$60.00|
|VICTORIA M SIMMONS||Houma||LA||4/27/16||$40.00|
|PATSY L SONNIER||Scott||LA||4/27/16||$20.00|
|ELIZABETH A SULLIVAN||Shreveport||LA||4/27/16||$20.00|
|KATINA R THOMSPON- GIVENS||Baker||LA||4/27/16||$4.75|
|VELVA J TRASK||Walker||LA||4/27/16||$20.00|
|DIANE VICKERS||Baton Rouge||LA||4/27/16||$20.00|
|DONNA M WILRIDGE||Branch||LA||4/27/16||$20.00|
|ERNESTINE S WINSLOW||Clarence||LA||4/27/16||$20.00|
|JOHN R WRIGHT||Sorrento||LA||4/27/16||$20.00|
|LOUISIANA ASSOCIATION OF EDUCATORS||Baton Rouge||LA||5/5/16||$5,942.98|
|DEBORAH MEAUX||Baton Rouge||LA||6/14/16||$100.00|
|SUZETTE S RIDDLE||Abbeville||LA||6/14/16||$10.00|
|WILLIAM S RIDDLE||Abbeville||LA||6/14/16||$20.00|
|AMY C BERGERON||Scott||LA||6/16/16||$20.00|
|JOHNELL D CELESTINE||Opelousas||LA||6/16/16||$50.00|
|LYNDA GUIDRY||Baton Rouge||LA||6/16/16||$100.00|
|INETTE MALVEAUX||New Iberia||LA||6/16/16||$20.00|
|WILLIAM S RIDDLE||Abbeville||LA||6/16/16||$10.00|
|ANGELA ROTHERMEL||Baton Rouge||LA||6/16/16||$20.00|
|SHERLEEN SANDERS||Baton Rouge||LA||6/16/16||$20.00|
|PRUDENCE SPOONER||Port Allen||LA||6/16/16||$20.00|
|LOUISIANA ASSOCIATION OF EDUCATORS||Baton Rouge||LA||6/17/16||$5,697.29|
|SUZANNE D BREAUX||Abbeville||LA||7/1/16||$20.00|
|DILEK BUCHHOLZ||Baton Rouge||LA||7/1/16||$20.00|
|JENNIFER L DUGAL||Abbeville||LA||7/1/16||$20.00|
|CYNTHIA Y HENDERSON||Shreveport||LA||7/1/16||$10.00|
|HEATHER HUNTER||Silver Spring||MD||7/1/16||$10.00|
|CAROLYN F JONES||Harvey||LA||7/1/16||$20.00|
|DAWN M JORDAN||Shreveport||LA||7/1/16||$20.00|
|LOUISIANA ASSOCIATION OF EDUCATORS||Baton Rouge||LA||7/1/16||$8,475.03|
|D’SHAY P OAKS||Vidalia||LA||7/1/16||$20.00|
|ANNIE J OLIPHANT||Natchitoches||LA||7/1/16||$20.00|
|CHRISTINA E PRESLEY||Bossier City||LA||7/1/16||$20.00|
|KAREN J RICHARDSON||Kaplan||LA||7/1/16||$60.00|
|LUCIAN D ROBERSON||Shreveport||LA||7/1/16||$10.00|
|TRACI ROMERO||New Iberia||LA||7/1/16||$20.00|
|CYNDY W RUTHERFORD||Baton Rouge||LA||7/1/16||$20.00|
|GRANT SHREINER||New Orleans||LA||7/1/16||$10.00|
|ASHLEY SPURLOCK||New Iberia||LA||7/1/16||$20.00|
|SHELIA WASHINGTON||Lake Charles||LA||7/1/16||$20.00|
|VERNON WELLS||Baton Rouge||LA||7/1/16||$10.00|
|RENITA B WHITRACK||Baton Rouge||LA||7/1/16||$20.00|
|DONNA M WILRIDGE||Branch||LA||7/1/16||$20.00|
|ERNESTINE S WINSLOW||Clarence||LA||7/1/16||$20.00|
|LOUISIANA ASSOCIATION OF EDUCATORS||Baton Rouge||LA||7/8/16||$2,366.50|
|KIMERBLY K DOMANGUE||Duson||LA||7/14/16||$20.00|
|GWENDOLYN A HILL||Baton Rouge||LA||7/14/16||$20.00|
|LOUISIANA ASSOCIATION OF EDUCATORS||Baton Rouge||LA||8/1/16||$6,001.31|
|LOUISIANA ASSOCIATION OF EDUCATORS||Baton Rouge||LA||9/1/16||$7,100.30|
|LOUISIANA ASSOCIATION OF EDUCATORS||Baton Rouge||LA||10/12/16||$7,396.70|
|WILLIAM S RIDDLE||Abbeville||LA||10/3/16||$10.00|
|LOUISIANA ASSOCIATION OF EDUCATORS||Baton Rouge||LA||11/9/16||$5,439.64|
|DEBORAH MEAUX||Baton Rouge||LA||11/4/16||$25.00|
|WILLIAM S RIDDLE||Abbeville||LA||11/13/16||$10.00|
|LOUISIANA ASSOCIATION OF EDUCATORS||Baton Rouge||LA||12/8/16||$7,685.95|
LAE PAC Disbursements
Disbursements: General Expenses
|ASSOCIATION OF LOUISIANA LOBBYISTS||Baton Rouge||LA||Conference Fee||1/6/16||$295.00|
|CAMPAIGN FINANCE||Baton Rouge||LA||Statement of Organization||1/27/16||$100.00|
|HOTEL MONTELEONE||New Orleans||LA||Travel Expense||1/15/16||$601.40|
|LOUISIANA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES||Baton Rouge||LA||Lobbyist Badges||1/6/16||$40.00|
|MYSTICK KREWE OF LOUISIANIANS INC.||Baton Rouge||LA||Event Expense||1/15/16||$1,000.00|
|ROUSES MARKET #29||New Orleans||LA||Event Supplies||1/15/16||$216.01|
|ST. LANDRY PARISH DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE||Opelousas||LA||Event Expense||1/15/16||$280.00|
|LEADERS WITH VISION||Baton Rouge||LA||Contribution||2/16/16||$180.00|
|LEGISCON||Baton Rouge||LA||Special Session Fee||2/16/16||$650.00|
|POSTLETHWAITE & NETTERVILLE||Baton Rouge||LA||PAC Management and Reporting Services||3/21/16||$3,000.00|
|GLOBAL TRANSPORTATION & LIMOUSINE SERVICES LL||Metairie||LA||Transportation Expense||4/5/16||$600.00|
|HARRINGTON’S CAFE||Baton Rouge||LA||Event Sponsorship||4/14/16||$412.16|
|HOUSE DEMOCRATIC CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE OF LA||Baton Rouge||LA||Event Sponsorship||4/27/16||$1,750.00|
|LOUISIANA FEDERATION OF TEACHERS||Baton Rouge||LA||Event Sponsorship||4/4/16||$1,750.00|
|LOUISIANA LEGISLATIVE BLACK CAUCUS||Baton Rouge||LA||Contribution||4/4/16||$2,500.00|
|MORE VOTES LLC||Jackson||MS||Live ID calls on behalf of the Vereta Lee Campaign||4/14/16||$1,300.00|
|POSTLETHWAITE & NETTERVILLE||Baton Rouge||LA||PAC Management and Reporting Services||5/13/16||$700.00|
|REPUBLICAN LEGISLATIVE DELEGATION COMMITTEE||Baton Rouge||LA||2016 Elephant Stomp Fee||5/13/16||$1,250.00|
|BATON ROUGE MARRIOT||Baton Rouge||LA||Event Expense||6/27/16||$2,366.50|
|DEMOCRACY ENGINE||Washington||DC||Credit Card Processing Fees||6/16/16||$0.67|
|NORTHSHORE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION||Covington||LA||HOOPLA Sponsorship||6/27/16||$1,000.00|
|SQUARE INC.||San Francisco||CA||Credit Card Processing Fees||6/14/16||$4.70|
|SQUARE INC.||San Francisco||CA||Credit Card Processing Fees||6/16/16||$9.08|
|AABACO SMALL BUSINESS||Sunnyvale||CA||Website Expense||7/25/16||$101.77|
|WALMART SUPERSTORE||Mansura||LA||Event Supplies||7/25/16||$419.72|
|LOUISIANA DEMOCRATIC PARTY||Baton Rouge||LA||Event Tickets||8/8/16||$2,000.00|
|RUCK.US||New York||NY||Website Expense||8/8/16||$20.00|
|ANGELA K MAURER||Deville||LA||Refund of LAE PAC Dues||9/26/16||$10.00|
|ELISE SAUCE||Morgan City||LA||Refund of LAE PAC Dues||9/26/16||$10.00|
|BURCHIE L SMITH||Edmond||OK||Refund of LAE PAC Dues||9/26/16||$10.00|
|ANEDOT||Baton Rouge||LA||Credit Card Processing Fees||10/3/16||$0.69|
|EVENTBRITE||San Francisco||LA||Lafayette Lifetime Achievement Banquet||10/12/16||$472.16|
|HYATT REGENCY NEW ORLEANS||New Orleans||LA||Travel Expense||10/12/16||$430.86|
|HYATT REGENCY NEW ORLEANS||New Orleans||LA||Travel Expense||10/12/16||$59.57|
|LOUISIANA LEGISLATIVE BLACK CAUCUS||Baton Rouge||LA||Annual Legislative Conference Tickets||10/13/16||$3,000.00|
|ANEDOT||Baton Rouge||LA||Credit Card Processing Fees||11/4/16||$1.27|
|ANEDOT||Baton Rouge||LA||Credit Card Processing Fees||11/13/16||$0.69|
|THE COMMITTEE FOR A BATTER WEST BATON ROUGE||Brusly||LA||Contribution||11/7/16||$1,000.00|
|CANTINA LAREDO||Nashville||TN||Food & Beverage||12/12/16||$99.87|
|LOEWS VANDERBILT HOTEL||Nashville||TN||Lodging||12/12/16||$1,253.35|
|LOUISIANA ASSOCIATION OF EDUCATORS||Baton Rouge||LA||Table Sponsorship||12/6/16||$450.00|
|LOUISIANA ASSOCIATION OF EDUCATORS||Baton Rouge||LA||Payment of In-Kind Contributions for Carl Gaines Jr.||12/6/16||$905.98|
|LOUISIANA DEMOCRATIC PARTY||Baton Rouge||LA||Contribution||12/6/16||$2,500.00|
|RACETRAC 492||Baton Rouge||LA||Event Supplies||12/15/16||$549.86|
|WILLIAM S RIDDLE||Abbeville||LA||Mileage Expense||12/12/16||$550.00|
|THE SOUTHERN||Nashville||TN||Food & Beverage||12/12/16||$130.94|
|UNION COMMON||Nashville||TN||Food & Beverage||12/12/16||$85.01|
Disbursements: Campaign Contributions
|LAWRENCE A. (LARRY) BAGLEY||Logansport||LA||Contribution for Debt Retirement||1/15/16||$1,000.00|
|SHARON HEWITT CAMPAIGN FUND||Slidell||LA||Contribution for Debt Retirement||1/15/16||$500.00|
|JOHN MILKOVICH||Shreveport||LA||Contribution for Debt Retirement||1/15/16||$2,500.00|
|DAWN COLLINS||Baton Rouge||LA||2/25/16||$1,000.00|
|VERETA LEE CAMPAIGN FUND||Baton Rouge||LA||3/3/16||$1,000.00|
|CARL GAINES, JR.||Violet||LA||Direct Mail Printing||10/28/16||$412.50|
|CARL GAINES, JR.||Violet||LA||Postage for Direct Mail||10/31/16||$291.77|
|LAWRENCE A. (LARRY) BAGLEY||Logansport||LA||Contribution for Debt Retirement||11/7/16||$250.00|
|JEFF HALL CAMPAIGN||Alexandria||LA||11/7/16||$250.00|
|FRIENDS OF WESLEY BISHOP||New Orleans||LA||12/6/16||$500.00|
|SHARON W BROOME||Baton Rouge||LA||12/6/16||$2,500.00|
LAE PAC Fund Balance
Louisiana Federation of Teachers PAC
The Louisiana Federation of Teachers is the state affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, whose local unions include the United Teachers of New Orleans and the Jefferson Federation of Teachers. LFT The data below covers the period from January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2016.
LFT PAC Receipts
|AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS||Washington||DC||1/5/16||$28,363.94|
|AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS||Washington||DC||3/24/16||$25,398.26|
|AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS||Washington||DC||5/11/16||$1,750.00|
|AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS||Washington||DC||6/9/16||$45,941.15|
|AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS||Washington||DC||7/22/16||$38,867.01|
|AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS||Washington||DC||11/7/16||$24,330.78|
LFT PAC Disbursements
Disbursements: General Expenses
|LOUISIANA GOVERNMENTAL STUDIES INC.||Lafayette||LA||2016 Legislative Directories||1/4/16||$450.00|
|CAMPAIGN FINANCE||Baton Rouge||LA||Statement of Organization fee 2016||1/25/16||$100.00|
|LEGLUE & CO. CPAS||New Orleans||LA||Accounting fees Aug. 2015 – Dec. 2015||1/25/16||$1,875.00|
|LOUISIANA BOARD OF ETHICS||Baton Rouge||LA||Lobbying Registration Fees – K. Bishop||2/3/16||$110.00|
|OFFICE OF SERGEANT AT ARMS-HOUSE||Baton Rouge||LA||2016 Lobbyist Badge||2/3/16||$10.00|
|LOUISIANA BOARD OF ETHICS||Baton Rouge||LA||2016 – Lobbying Registration Fees||2/5/16||$550.00|
|LEGISCON INC.||Baton Rouge||LA||Legislative Materials – Invoice #17813||2/22/16||$4,725.00|
|LEGISCON INC.||Baton Rouge||LA||User’s Guide – K. Bishop||2/25/16||$65.00|
|LOUISIANA DEMOCRATIC PARTY||Baton Rouge||LA||Governor’s Circle Contribution for Breakfast Honoring Patrons||3/14/16||$5,000.00|
|LOUISIANA SENATE DEMOCRATIC CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE||Baton Rouge||LA||21st Annual Taste of the Senate||3/21/16||$3,500.00|
|LOUISIANA LEGISLATIVE BLACK CAUCUS||Baton Rouge||LA||Donation||3/29/16||$2,500.00|
|LOUISIANA DEMOCRATIC PARTY||Baton Rouge||LA||2016 Donkey Romp Main Event||4/6/16||$1,750.00|
|HARRINGTON’S CAFE’||Baton Rouge||LA||House Democratic Caucus Lunch||4/15/16||$412.16|
|MORE VOTES LLC||Jackson||MS||Calls made on behalf of Vereta Lee for Primary Election||4/15/16||$1,300.00|
|LOUISIANA LEGISLATIVE WOMEN’S||Baton Rouge||LA||2016 Women of Excellence (Chrisandra Lee)||4/29/16||$100.00|
|TREASURER OF THE STATE OF LA||Baton Rouge||LA||Late filing penalty for the April 2016 Lobbyist Expenditure Report||6/10/16||$50.00|
|LOUISIANA ASSOCIATION OF EDUCATORS||Baton Rouge||LA||LAE/LFT 2016 School Funding Campaign||7/6/16||$495.00|
|MORE VOTES LLC||Jackson||MS||Calls – LA Legislators||7/6/16||$3,763.50|
|LOUISIANA ASSOCIATION OF EDUCATORS||Baton Rouge||LA||LAE/LFT 2016 School Funding Campaign||7/14/16||$2,132.14|
|LOUISIANA DEMOCRATIC PARTY||Baton Rouge||LA||2016 Jefferson/Jackson Dinner Sponsorship||7/27/16||$2,000.00|
|LOUISIANA LEGISLATIVE BLACK CAUCUS||Baton Rouge||LA||2016 Bayou Classic Scholarship Jazz Brunch||9/30/16||$1,500.00|
|HEALTHY LOUISIANA ECONOMY PAC||New Orleans||LA||PAC cashed check originally issued in 2014 and written off as uncashed in 2016.||10/19/16||$2,500.00|
|LEGLUE & CO. CPAS||New Orleans||LA||Accounting fees Jan. 2016 – Oct. 2016||11/14/16||$3,750.00|
|LOUISIANA BOARD OF ETHICS||Baton Rouge||LA||2017 – Lobbying Registration Fees||12/13/16||$550.00|
|LOUISIANA GOVERNMENTAL STUDIES INC.||Lafayette||LA||2017 Legislative Directories||12/19/16||$1,125.00|
Disbursements: Campaign Contributions
|DAWN COLLINS CAMPAIGN||Baton Rouge||LA||School Board – District 4 East Baton Rouge.||1/25/16||$1,000.00|
|JOHN MILKOVICH CAMPAIGN FUND||Shreveport||LA||LA State Senate||1/26/16||$2,500.00|
|VERETA LEE CAMPAIGN FUND||Baton Rouge||LA||LA House of Representatives – Dist. 29||3/14/16||$1,000.00|
|VERETA LEE CAMPAIGN FUND||Baton Rouge||LA||LA House of Representatives – Dist. 29||4/19/16||$1,500.00|
|BARBARA NORTON CAMPAIGN||Shreveport||LA||Campaign contribution||12/6/16||$2,500.00|
|COMMITTEE TO ELECT GARY CARTER JR.||New Orleans||LA||Debt Retirement 2015 Primary Election||12/5/16||$250.00|
LFT PAC Fund Balance
After Janus, The Drought? LAE & LFT are downplaying the impact of the Janus v. AFSCME decision, but both are subsidized by their national unions
The United States Supreme Court handed public sector unions – including the teachers unions – a major defeat on Wednesday with their decision in Janus v. AFSCME, in which a majority of justices agreed that mandatory agency fee laws violate the First Amendment rights of non-union public employees.
In the 21 states with agency fee laws, public employees covered by collective bargaining agreements were required to pay fees to the union to cover bargaining costs, even if they refused to join. Because agency fees only offered a small discount when compared to union dues, many individuals felt compelled to become members.
Now that the Supreme Court has struck down those laws, many observers expect that public sector unions will lose anywhere from 10-30% of their members, and by extension, a big chunk of their revenues. In a conference call with reporters on Wednesday, National Education Association (NEA) president Lily Eskelsen García admitted her union expects to lose at least 200,000 members over the next 18 months, depriving them of around $28 million in funding.
What about Louisiana?
Louisiana, of course, is a right-to-work state, meaning that public sector unions here are unlikely to see a drop in their membership, but the Janus decision could have a significant financial impact on the state’s two teachers unions, the Louisiana Association of Educators (LAE) and the Louisiana Federation of Teachers (LFT).
In an article in The Advocate on Wednesday, officials from LAE and LFT sought to downplay the potential fallout from the ruling, insisting that any impact on their organizations would be minimal. They also wildly exaggerated the size of their respective unions, with both LAE and LFT claiming around 20,000 members.
Mike Antonucci, a researcher who has been writing about teachers unions for decades, released figures on Wednesday showing that LAE had 10,461 members in 2016-17, of which only 9,416 were full dues-paying members. While precise numbers are not available for LFT, data from tax filings and public records requests show that the union receives far less in dues payments than their counterparts at LAE, while charging their members more on an annual basis. Therefore, it’s safe to assume that LFT is even smaller than LAE’s 10,000 members.
Those tax filings, along with annual reports filed with the U.S. Department of Labor, also reveal that both LAE and LFT are heavily subsidized by their national unions. According to tax returns, LAE reported $3,291,199 in revenue in F.Y. 2016, although Department of Labor reports show that nearly 30% of that money came from the National Education Association.
Likewise, LFT reported $1,809,239 in revenue in F.Y. 2016, but nearly 27% of that total came from its parent union, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). Moreover, as I’ve noted in previous posts, AFT also provides substantial funding to its local affiliates, like the United Teachers of New Orleans, Jefferson Federation of Teachers, and Red River United.
Will the money dry up?
Up to now, LAE and LFT could depend on their national unions to provide a substantial portion of their annual budgets, but the Supreme Court’s decision this week means that steady stream of funding could begin to dry up in the not-too-distant future. While It’s unlikely that AFT and NEA will completely cut-off subsidies to their affiliates in right-to-work states like Louisiana, there’s no escaping the fact that there will be less money to go around.
How that will ultimately impact the activities of Louisiana Association of Educators and Louisiana Federation of Teachers is yet to be seen.
The Red River Ripoff Shreveport's AFT Affiliate Uses Bureaucratic Obstacles To Keep Dues Coming in
Red River United (RRU), the American Federation of Teachers-affiliated union representing educators in Caddo, Bossier, and Red River Parishes, is using bureaucratic hurdles and subterfuge in an attempt to prevent members from leaving the organization.
A reader forwarded me a series of emails regarding three of the union’s current members who submitted a union drop request to Red River officials in October, indicating that they wished to end their affiliation with RRU and stop the monthly deduction of dues from their bank accounts.
The receipt of those forms was acknowledged by the union. Nevertheless, when the three teachers checked with their banks at the end of the month, Red River United had once again deducted dues payments from their accounts. On November 1st, an email was sent to RRU officials notifying them of their mistake and requesting that the union refund those dues to the three individuals.
An emailed response from RRU’s in-house counsel, Elizabeth Gibson, flatly refused to refund those payments, explaining that the three teachers “executed a confidential agreement with Red River United (Membership Form), wherein the individuals authorized Red River United, or its designee, to draft their bank account each month for the amount indicated in the agreement for each billing period.”
“Further, they acknowledged that they must give at least 30 days written notice to Red River United to cancel future automated debits. Red River United did not receive written notice at least 30 days in advance personally from the individuals indicating they had chosen to cancel their automated debits/membership. They must physically come to the offices of Red River United to cancel the bank draft due to the confidential nature of the information contained therein. These individuals have not done so. Accordingly, they are not entitled to a refund of the monies they authorized to be withdrawn from their bank accounts.”
Gibson added that the teachers needed to physically go to the union’s offices to provide a so-called “wet signature” in the presence of a Red River United employee in order to officially withdraw from the union and stop the monthly bank withdrawals.
A ridiculous (and dishonest?) response
Gibson’s response is not only ridiculous, but possibly dishonest. It’s also clearly an attempt by Red River United to make it as difficult as possible for current members to dropout of the union.
To start, the union’s “confidential agreement” – i.e., RRU’s membership form – isn’t all that confidential (in fact, I’ve included a copy of it at the bottom of this post). Nowhere on the membership form does it say anything about the requirement to provide a “wet signature” in the presence of an RRU employee to leave the union and stop monthly payments.
Moreover, Gibson’s contention that the three teachers needed to physically go to RRU’s offices to cancel the bank drafts “due to the confidential nature of the information contained therein” is laughable. Anyone who has ever had a subscription to a newspaper or magazine can tell you that you don’t need to go to their offices to cancel it. Plus, there’s nothing “confidential” about the process. All Red River United needs to do is notify their bank to stop the monthly automatic withdrawals for those three individuals. End of story.
So why is Red River United trying to make these three teachers jump through bureaucratic hoops when they clearly don’t want to be part of their organization anymore? I suspect the union is trying to force them to come to their offices so they can pressure them to remain members, which is the kind of behavior you might expect from a dodgy timeshare broker, not a teachers union.
Nevertheless, teachers unions in other states have increasingly employed similar tactics to stem the departure of their members. For example, after Michigan became a right-to-work state in 2012, the Michigan Education Association (MEA) changed their opt-out policy to mandate that teachers withdrawal in August and force them to send their resignation requests to an obscure P.O. box address hidden on their website. The union subsequently refused to honor opt-out requests that were sent directly to MEA headquarters or were received outside of the month of August.
I expect that we’ll see even more of these sort of schemes in the coming months. In September, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Janus v. AFSCME, a case which argues that requiring public employees to pay agency fees to unions (including teachers unions) is unconstitutional. It is widely expected that the Court will end up striking down the laws in the 22 states that currently mandate agency fees, meaning that teachers unions across the country will soon be scrambling to come up with ways to keep their members from dropping out.
Because Louisiana has long been a right-to-work state, the Janus case should have little direct impact here. At the same time, that’s exactly why Red River United’s efforts to make it as difficult as possible for members to leave their organization needs to be called out. Louisiana’s public school teachers have the right to join a union or not. Therefore, they should be able to leave a union just as easily as they signed up. If Red River United wants to salvage some of its integrity, it should immediately accept the resignation of the three educators in question and refund their dues as soon as possible.
Read Red River United’s membership form:
Subscribe to my RSS feed to get updates in your news reader.
- Here’s Something Different: Celebrating Tennessee’s Postsecondary Efforts 17 July 2018
- Between a Rock and a Hard Place: My Thoughts on the Supreme Court Nomination as a Black Man and Principal 13 July 2018
- Trust Kids When They Say Their Teachers Are Psychologically Abusive 12 July 2018
- Lawmakers to the Trump Administration: “Trump Camps” Need Oversight 12 July 2018
- No recess is the norm for 6,000 Detroit students. Here’s how that could change. 10 July 2018