The nation’s largest teachers’ union is seeing the first signs of a membership exodus, according to a report from the news site The 74 Million.
The National Education Association has lost about 17,000 members since its last update in April, according to an internal document obtained by Mike Antonucci, a long-time union analyst who now writes for the 74. This membership loss is most likely due to a Supreme Court decision in June that prohibited public-sector unions from charging fees to workers who are not members of the union.
Before the high court ruling in Janus v. AFSCME, workers who didn’t want to join the union still had to pay “agency” or “fair share” fees to cover the cost of collective bargaining. However, those fees often cost nearly as much as a full membership, so many people went ahead and became members. Now, workers can exit the union and not have to pay any fee as a nonmember—so unions have predicted significant membership declines.
The NEA now stands at just over 3 million members, Antonucci reported. But the membership loss is likely to continue—over the summer, the NEA predicted a loss of more than 300,000 members over two years.