Background

The National Education Association represents some 3.2 million school employees. It doesn’t negotiate just on behalf of teachers. The NEA also represents non-instructional employees, such as custodians, food service and transportation workers.

Long posturing itself as a “professional association,” it wasn’t until recently that it claimed the mantle of being a full-fledged union.

The NEA will often cite the interests of children when it takes positions on legislation or candidates, or advocates for certain public policies. For example, more funding for education invariably means more compensation for its members.

But a remarkable thing happened in 2009. Retiring general counsel Bob Chanin was given the microphone at the NEA convention in San Diego and he spoke truth to power.

The NEA provided his entire address on YouTube, though we suggest you fast-forward until about the 15:30 minute mark to see Chanin in his full-throated union glory.