Teaching Profession

NEA and AFL-CIO: A Steep Hill to Climb?

By Stephen Sawchuk — March 09, 2009 1 min read

More news from The New York Times here on NEA possibly joining a larger labor coalition with the AFL-CIO. The union’s president, Dennis Van Roekel, is supposedly involved in the talks.

“We have a good chance to have a basic outline to create a unified labor movement for the first time ever,” the story quotes Larry Cohen, the president of the communications workers’ union, as saying about this. “The NEA was founded more than 100 years ago and has never been an explicit part of the U.S. labor movement.”

Mike Antonucci, over at the Education Intelligence Agency, recalls the 1998 failed merger between the NEA and the AFT. He’s skeptical that Van Roekel can get the membership on board. And it’s true that the NEA’s Representative Assembly can be difficult to persuade. At last year’s convention, the membership soundly rejected a proposal to organize private-school instructors, even though that proposal was strongly pushed by the leadership.

I put in a request to the NEA for comment about all this. Let’s see what they have to say.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.