by Dr. Terry Stoops
Former Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
An audit of union/employee association membership found that the N.C. Association of Educators (NCAE), the state affiliate of the National Education Association, had only 7,331 members on employer payroll deduction as of December 2015.
State auditors wrote,
We were unable to obtain the total membership count and type of membership count from the North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE). The NCAE refused to furnish the information. We do not have the authority to compel NCAE to turn over this information because, as a private entity, NCAE does not fall under the authority of the State Auditor. However, NCAE reported a total membership count of approximately 70,000 on their website as of December 4, 2016. We were not able to confirm this membership count.
This data may reflect ongoing efforts by NCAE leadership to decrease the number of members who utilize the employer deduction method of paying their dues.
The membership count is important because state law prohibits employers from deducting dues on behalf of employee organizations that do not meet membership thresholds specified in state statute. Even if the state compelled the NCAE to eliminate employer payroll deduction, however, it would appear to affect a relatively small percentage of their stated (and unverified) membership.