by Bob Luebke
Senior Fellow, Center for Effective Education | John Locke Foundation
Securing up-to-date data on union membership changes has always been a challenge.
Veteran teacher union watcher Mike Antonucci, recently wrote about how membership in the nation’s two largest teachers’ unions; the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) declined by 2.3 percent and 2.1 percent respectively for the year 2020 to 2021. That’s a decline of approximately 81,000 members.
So how big is s decline of 81,000 members? Antonucci says, the numbers are the equivalent “ of losing the entire working membership of union affiliates in Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami and Philadelphia – combined – in a single year. “
The numbers were culled from federal Department of Labor reports.
Unfortunately, not all union affiliates are required to provide the annual data required by the United States Department of Labor, so we won’t know how membership in state affiliates like the North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE) has changed in the past years. Those figures will be available later this year. By then, however, the numbers will be a year old.
NCAE membership has been declining since 2011-12. In 2019-20 membership in NCAE declined 2.4 percent.
Based on nearly a decade of data and current trends, I’d expect NCAE membership in NCAE will continue to decline.
We’ll know for sure in May.