The National Education Association is America’s largest labor union and a potent political force. It is also a $367 million–a-year corporate entity with a bewildering number of affiliates, subsidiaries, interlocking directorates, and business partnerships.
The details of NEA’s interactions are unknown to the public and a mystery even to its most dedicated activists. While members of the union’s “highest decision-making body,” the 7,000-delegate Representative Assembly, devoted themselves at an annual conference to choosing articles to be published on the NEA website, the union’s executive officers conducted weightier transactions that failed to elicit a single question or comment from delegates. Here are six of them:
1) NEA Properties Inc. In May 2009 the Indiana State Teachers Association Insurance Trust went bust due to bad investments, poor oversight, and financial mismanagement. The Indiana union itself was in danger of collapse, prompting NEA to place it under trusteeship. NEA then created a real estate firm — NEA Properties Inc. — for the sole purpose of purchasing the ISTA headquarters building and leasing it back to the state union. The Indiana affiliate has been a tenant of NEA Properties ever since.