OPINION | Union Report: NEA Members Want More Say in How Union Decides Presidential Endorsements. But Leaders Are Refusing to Loosen Their Grip

By Mike Antonucci, The74

The officers and elected representatives of the National Education Association are rarely at odds with one another on major issues. A conspicuous exception to the rule has been the recommendation of candidates for president of the United States and the union’s process for making that choice.

It seems an odd bone of contention, since NEA always endorses the Democratic candidate. Many national and state affiliate union representatives are delegates and superdelegates to the Democratic National Convention. Still, choosing among Democrats and deciding when to endorse the proper one has caused a lot of friction within the union.

The 2016 primary battle between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders was the source of much internal anguish, prompting groups of NEA activists to propose sweeping changes to how the union makes its recommendations. The common element of these plans was to open up the endorsement process to larger groups of members. But it has been an uphill fight, and next month will determine whether the rank and file will get an increased say, or if the top echelon of NEA leaders maintains its hold.

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