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Our top 5 takeaways from the PSEA’s 2019 financial report


Every year, due to (very helpful) federal reporting requirements for many large unions, the PSEA has to submit a detailed financial accounting of what it has done with members’ money for the last year. It usually becomes available at the U.S. Department of Labor around Thanksgiving each year. 

We do a deep dig on this “LM-2” report annually, in order to answer the questions many teachers have about how the PSEA spends their money. You can read the full analysis at “Where Do Your Union Dues Go?”, but here are five quick takeaways from the 2019 report:

  1. The PSEA lost nearly all of its fee payers, but hasn’t suffered a major loss of revenue. Because of the Janus decision, the union could no longer extort money from 6,630 non-members. But while revenue from dues declined slightly, it was still around the usual $64 million. 
  2. Political spending from union dues jumped $1 million in one year. The PSEA spent $2.9 million on “political activities and lobbying” in 2017-18. In 2018-19, that figure was $3.9 million.
  3. Union dues have increased 24 percent in the last 10 years. This school year, every full-time teacher is paying at least $738 to the PSEA and to the NEA. (Every member must pay both state and national levels of the union). By contrast, local unions affiliated with PSEA charge very little, if anything (despite doing most of the union representation work in districts).
  4. Only 19 percent of PSEA’s dues goes to representation. This includes the major things educators most readily think of when it comes to unions—contract negotiations and administration and resolving grievances. 
  5. Teachers are right to worry about funding PSEA-NEA’s politics.  For the last decade, the PSEA has spent an average of $3.3 million a year on political activities and lobbying. In its 2019 report, the NEA logged $29 million on such activities, including about $4 million on supporting or defeating ballot measures around the country during the 2018 midterm elections. As we’ve further detailed, most of that went to progressive or other partisan issues that many educators may disagree with.

You can read our complete analysis of the PSEA and NEA’s latest spending numbers here

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