State teachers’ union decline continues, new report finds
April 16, 2018 | MacIver News Service
By Chris Rochester[Madison, Wisc…] Wisconsin’s largest teachers’ union suffered a decline in revenue of nearly 19 percent between 2014-15 and 2015-16, the largest decline of any teachers’ union in the country, according to a new report by the Education Intelligence Agency.
The Wisconsin Education Association Council’s (WEAC) revenue dropped from about $9.8 million to $8 million over that time, an 18.8 percent drop over just one year. That put it in a $239,077 operating deficit.
The new numbers – the latest available – reflect an ongoing trend for the union of declining revenue. In 2014, WEAC collected $12.4 million in dues, in 2015 it collected $9.25 million, and in 2016 it collected $8 million. Before Act 10, it was collecting $23.5 million a year in dues.
WEAC’s declining fortunes this year continue a bad streak for the union – last year, the union posted a dropoff in revenue of more than $3 million, also the worst among all state teachers unions.
The drop in revenue mirrors a sharp decline in membership as teachers, now free to opt out of union membership thanks to Act 10, continue to vote with their feet.
WEAC had 46,388 members during 2015 to 2016 – a 4.8 percent drop from the year before, the seventh sharpest drop among the 25 state teachers unions that lost membership. In 2014, WEAC’s total membership was 53,983. In 2010, membership was around 98,000.
The data comes from IRS disclosure reports and internal membership data.
The trend of declining teachers’ unions continues at the national level. Twenty-two state unions reported declines in revenue from 2014-15 to 2015-16 in addition to the 25 that saw drops in membership.
Gov. Scott Walker’s signature law, known as Act 10, allowed Wisconsin’s public employees the freedom to decide whether or not they want to join a union and pay dues. In 2015, Wisconsin became the twenty-fifth state to enact a Right to Work law, extended that freedom to all workers.
Public unions must now also hold annual recertification votes. In order to become recertified, a majority of union members must vote yes.