We have never awarded a union “straight A’s” on our weekly report card, but the National Education Association’s (NEA) union—yes, the union has a union—deserves high marks. The National Education Association Staff Organization (NEASO) shut down the nation’s largest teachers union’s annual convention last week by going on strike.

Thousands of NEA delegates gathered in Philadelphia for the annual meeting and Representative Assembly to ratify the union’s political strategy and ideological agenda for the upcoming year. NEA President Becky Pringle kicked off the event with an unhinged speech, celebrating recent strikes, singing President Joe Biden’s praises, and repeatedly shouting at union organizers to “do this work” and “win ALL THE THINGS.” This isn’t new for Pringle, she delivered an off-the-rails rant last year too.

Delegates had debated and voted on a handful of over 100 radically progressive new business items when, in an ironic and unprecedented turn of events, the NEASO went on strike, canceling the last three days of the multi-million dollar annual meeting. 

The NEA’s staff claims that the NEA has “abandoned its union values with its actions at the bargaining table.” NEASO President Robin McLean questioned NEA’s expenditures and contracts, including a $8,500 bill for three days of hairstyling for the NEA president. McLean stated, “For a public-service union that purports to oppose outsourcing members’ work, it is unconscionable that NEA would spend hundreds of millions of NEA member dues on contractors while union-busting and shrinking its staff unions.” The NEASO has filed three unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board due to unilateral workplace changes and denial of holiday pay.

After the NEA retaliated by locking out 300 of its staff members, McLean observed, “I cannot imagine it lands well that the nation’s largest union is locking out its staff union.”

It lands well with those of us who hope these intra-union squabbles will distract the NEA from Pringle’s plans to ramp up local teachers union strikes around the country during the upcoming school year.

To learn more about the NEA’s priorities, watch NEA President Becky Pringle’s speech to NEA delegates and read “Stop Letting Randi Weingarten Steal The Spotlight And Pay Attention To The NEA,” “NEA Voted Against Prioritizing Student Learning,” and “The NEA Plans To ‘Ramp Up’ Campaign For Joe Biden.”

For more information about teachers unions, check out the 
IWF Education Freedom Center’s Teachers Union Resource Center