Teachers’ Unions Explained

Hattip for co-blogger Chris Blosser for pointing out the above video to me.  Back in 1979 when I graduated with my BA in the teaching of Social Studies from the University of Illinois, one of the factors motivating my decision to immediate run off to law school was my extreme antipathy to the teachers’ unions.  From what I had observed as a student training to be a teacher, the unions tended to focus their efforts on protecting the least competent teachers from being fired and political involvement on behalf of the Democrat party and leftist causes in general.

In three decades nothing has changed.  The advocacy of abortion by the largest of the teachers’ unions, the National Education Association, is of course the most objectionable aspect of the political involvment of a union which purports to represent those who help shape the minds of students.  In 2008 pro-life teachers wrote to the NEA protesting the NEA support of abortion:

Mr. Reg Weaver, President
National Education Association
1201 16th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036-3290

March 27, 2008

Dear Mr. Weaver:

As pro-life teachers, we oppose the National Education Association’s (NEA) actions in allowing the Feminist Majority Foundation to hold their Women’s Leadership Conference at the NEA Headquarters Building in Washington, D.C. on March 8-9, 2008. It is not only outrageous that the NEA allowed this pro-abortion organization to hold a conference advancing barbaric ideals, but it is even more outrageous that NEA allowed Dr. George Tiller, infamous late-term abortionist from Wichita, Kansas, on its premises. Dr. Tiller currently faces 19 criminal charges for illegal, late-term abortions in the state of Kansas. He commented at the NEA Building on Sunday, March 9, “If the baby is born alive, that is sloppy medicine.” In addition, while presenting at NEA headquarters, Dr. Tiller showcased graphic pictures of children with fetal abnormalities, whom he had aborted, to make the case for late-term abortion as a necessary medical procedure. He also admitted that he had aborted prenatal babies the day before the mother’s due date. You can watch the video account of this online at www.studentsforlife.org.

We pro-life teachers call on the National Education Association to be, at the very least, neutral on abortion. The union should not be involved in abortion politics for there are plenty of other educational initiatives that can benefit from our resources. However, the past actions of the NEA have shown a favoritism towards pro-abortion organizations and policies, which reveals not only a lack of compassion, but also a lack of common sense. Prenatal children are our future students. The taking of their lives will result in the elimination of teaching jobs.

•Randall Moody, the chief lobbyist of the NEA, is on the board of directors of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and also on the board of its political arm, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in the United States.
•The NEA’s Political Action Committee (PAC), named the NEA Fund for Children and Public Education, has given contributions to organizations–Emily’s List (Democrats) and The Wish List (Republicans)–that only fund pro-Roe v. Wade women running for political office.
•In the NEA’s Resolutions (beliefs) document, the words “reproductive freedom” in Resolution I-13 have been interpreted to NEA Representative Assembly delegates as including abortion with no limitations.
•I-13. Family Planning: The National Education Association supports family planning, including the right to reproductive freedom. The Association urges the government to give high priority to making available all methods of family planning to women and men unable to take advantage of private facilities. The Association also urges the implementation of community-operated, school-based family planning clinics that will provide intensive counseling by trained personnel.
•The NEA announced it was an official supporter of the 2004 pro-abortion “March for Women’s Lives.”
Further, it is outrageous that David Haney, an employee of the NEA, would write one pro-life teacher and say, “As you may know, the NEA headquarters building is used from time to time by various organizations. It has been a longstanding practice for NEA to allow like-minded groups to use our conference space and meeting rooms either free of charge, as an in-kind gesture, or for a nominal fee.” The words “like-minded groups” are particularly disturbing to the many pro-life teachers the NEA represents.
Mr. Haney went on, further, to state, “Unfortunately, we have now learned that an organization, which has met in the NEA building in the past without incident, invited a speaker and presented materials during their latest visit that were offensive and disturbing to NEA members and staff. Please know that NEA had no prior knowledge of this speaker, his views and positions, of his inclusion on their agenda. His appearance does not constitute our sanction or approval of his views and positions. Please be assured that we have taken the necessary steps to ensure that something of this nature does not reoccur.”

While we have been reassured by Mr. Haney that the NEA will take the appropriate steps to ensure that Dr. Tiller and other abortionists are no longer invited to speak at the events held at the NEA headquarters, we would like to see this incident initiate change within the NEA and its policy towards pro-abortion organizations. We would like to see the NEA totally disengage from the abortion issue by cutting its funding of organizations whose missions include advancing abortion agendas. We call on NEA to propose a change to its Resolutions (beliefs) document which would specifically add the words “with no position on abortion“ to section I-13. Finally, we call on the NEA to remove legalized-abortion activist Randall Moody as chief lobbyist.

For Life,

Sissy Jochmann
President and Co-Founder
Conservative Educators Caucus

Connie Bancroft, Executive Director
On behalf of the Board of Trustees
Teachers Saving Children® Inc. – National

The response of the NEA in 2009 was to reject a proposal that the NEA  be neutral on abortion.  Of course what else could one expect from an organization that sponsored a forum with the late Tiller the Killer, champion of third trimester abortions?

When it comes to teachers’ unions, I believe that they have to share in the cutting of costs that are inevitable in regard to government.  That this is happening to organizations that are almost uniformly rabid enthusiasts for abortion displeases me not one whit.

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  • 2

Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.


  1. Why are the teacher’s unions pro=abortion? Don’t these idiots realize thy’re killing off their future students and putting themselves out of a JOB?

  2. If only shareholders in corporations who are equally supportive of abortion even had the right to introduce such a resolution.

  3. If only Kurt unions were as neutral on the abortion issue as most corporations. Unions seem to go out of their way to take stances on political issues sure to raise the ire of a good portion of their membership. You are a union man. Do you have any explanation why that is the case?

  4. Don,

    2/3rds of corporations directly finance the destruction of the unborn through their health care plans and a considerable number make corporate contributions to Planned Parenthood, far exceeding any labor union. Well beyond 90% of local, national and international unions (including the AFL-CIO) have never taken a stand on abortion policy.

    Most unions, particularly the Building Trades, the transport, pilots, maritime and railway unions, federal sector unions, have been very focused on a narrow definition of labor concerns. That is their tradition and it reflects the wishes of their membership.

    Another element, led by the UAW, the IUE and many industrial unions, have had a broader social vision that caused them to be a major force behind the enactment of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. In advancing that vision, Reuther and Carey and others were diligent to educate and bring the majority of their members with them, though certainly a minority raised their ire in opposition to this stance.

    In the handful of unions that have gone beyond this (and it can be counted on one hand), I’ve never know a situation when it did not come from the rank and file, contrary to the advice of the leadership.

    The pretense to the contrary is simply phoney. What is true is that labor political action raises the ire of white collar and managerial conservatives.

  5. Leaving aside Kurt the fact that Unions, in distinction from their members, almost invariably support the pro-abort in almost every election state and federal, the union movement has been deeply in bed with the pro-abortion forces in this country.

    I would refer readers to the link below at the website MyUnionDues.Com which details the involvement of the major unions in this country with pro-aborts.


    This of course flies in the face I believe of the sentiments of many union members, judging from many polls over the years detailing how union households vote. My late father was a member of Allied Industrial Workers for three decades due to the fact that the truck body plant where he worked was a closed, oops, excuse me, union shop. You didn’t belong to the union, you didn’t work there, something that was made quite clear to me the two summers I worked there as a laborer while I was going to college. At any rate, my late father always appreciated the voting guides supplied to him by his union, as he would always make certain to vote the opposite way, and it greatly helped him in his decision making process at the polls.

    I believe Kurt that you are one of the principles behind the website Catholics for Obama-Biden.


    I am curious as to how you square your Catholicism with your obvious ardent support for the most pro-abortion president in our nation’s history.

  6. Kurt just wants to change the subject — rather than discuss the NEA, he launches into untrue allegations about “2/3 of corporations,” etc.

  7. Don,

    That is one of the weakest, least fact based responses I have ever read in my life. Could you punch it up a bit with something meaningful rather than stuff like some union has a staff member who is married to a person who serves on a charity board with a person who works for Planned Parenthood?

  8. Don,

    You can’t even get the name of the Democratic Party correct. When you are done just repeating what Beck told you to say, let me know.

  9. What about the SCOTUS case Communication Workers of America vs. Beck (1988), which if I understand it correctly, established that unions CANNOT force members to cough up that portion of their dues which goes toward stuff unrelated to collective bargaining — i.e. political contributions and issue advocacy?

    If enough pro-life teachers got together and insisted on their rights under Beck (referring to Harry Beck, the plaintiff in the above case, not to be confused with Glenn Beck) I’d think it would make the NEA think twice about pushing pro-aborts. Has this been tried?

  10. Elaine,

    Here’s one way that even dues money – not just PAC money – is funneled to immoral causes:

    The NEA has a discretionary fund, paid through dues money, that the executive council can vote to use to “partner” with groups that do things like afterschool tutoring.

    So, it works like this: One of these “partner groups”, say a pro-homosexual marriage group, promises to do after-school tutoring. But, it needs money to pay for the materials, facilities, etc. The group holds a gala dinner for a fund-raiser. The NEA purchases an entire table (or more) at the fund-raiser. The money then goes into the pro-homosexual agenda group’s general budget, to be used for after-school tutoring …. wink, wink.

    I know that this kind of thing happens because I directly asked the NEA’s President, Reg Weaver, in 2006. He told me that it does work like that.

    I had been working for the Louisiana affiliate for NEA – the Louisiana Association of Educators. Up to that point, I tried to justify my continuing work by saying, “Well, the NEAPAC might do immoral stuff, but I’m not signing people up for that. I getting people to pay dues, which is completely separate.”

    Of course, this was a false justification that I fooled myself into because I believed in the union’s work (in Louisiana) and because the job was good.

    God granted me the opportunity to see the situation clearly, and I am back in the classroom where I belong – and not in the union, where I don’t belong.

    Also, about “pushing pro-aborts”, I have to say that in my work, we never – never – discussed a candidate’s abortion record, one way or the other. Really. It was all about where the candidate stood on union and education issues.

    As it turns out, generally speaking, the candidates who supported the union line were Democrats, who also supported the anti-life line.

    But, in Louisiana, even that wasn’t really an issue. The majority of our Democrats here (Sen. Landrieu excluded) are pro-life. Louisiana is a very conservative state, even for Democrats.

  11. “Don,

    You can’t even get the name of the Democratic Party correct. When you are done just repeating what Beck told you to say, let me know.”

    I bet you are a laugh riot Kurt when you gather together with your fellow Democratics. As faithful readers of this blog could tell you, I have no use for Beck and view him as a borderline loon.

    Now that I have dealt with your red herring, I can assume that you have absolutely nothing to say of substance in defense of unions and their support for abortion, their support for the Democrat party and its policy of abortion uber alles, or anything to say in defense of your ardent support of Obama, a man who raised campaign funds by trumpeting his opposition to a partial birth abortion ban? The question is purely rhetorical Kurt. You and I both know you have absolutely no intention of coming to grips with this issue.


  12. The question is purely rhetorical Kurt.

    Don, as far as I can tell, everything I read from you is rhetoric.

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