Oregon Teachers’ Union Has Lost Nearly 20 Percent of Membership Since 2020

Oregon’s largest teachers’ union says it’s dealing with a membership crisis, with its ranks shrinking dramatically in recent years.

Since 2020, the Oregon Education Association lost 1,150 members and the percentage of union-represented teachers who qualified as active members dropped from 85.6 percent to 81.2 percent, according to data compiled by the Freedom Foundation.

Another 600 members have reportedly cut ties since April, bringing union membership to below 80 percent, the organization said. Nearly one in five teachers have left the union in the past two years alone.

“The cabinet is updated on locals that are experiencing downward trends in membership and locals that are in a membership crisis,” the union said in its 2022 handbook. “We are made aware of plans to support these locals, plans of membership drives within these locals, and plans to connect with active members as well as potential members in local associations.”

The union doesn’t do a great job of disguising its progressive motivations, writing in its handbook that it will lobby the Department of Education to impose mandatory LGBT training in all school districts. It included in that document an affirmative action report, which includes race and gender hiring quotas. For its representative assembly protocol, the OEA tells delegates to use their gender pronouns when identifying themselves on the floor.

“If OEA wants to blame someone for those defections, its leaders need only look in the mirror,” Freedom Foundation Oregon Director Jason Dudash said. “Our teacher outreach has been increasingly successful, but the arrogance of the unions themselves was a big help.”

Last January, a local affiliate of the union allegedly assisted with the recall campaign against two conservative-leaning school-board members in Newberg, Ore., circulating flyers and mailers around the district featuring the pride flag and Black Lives Matter solidarity fist, the Yahmill Advocate reported.

Last month, Oregon teachers’ union ally Tina Kotek defeated Republican candidate Christine Drazen for in the state’s gubernatorial contest. Before her gubernatorial run, Kotek, as leader of the Oregon House, repeatedly led votes along party lines to stop Republican-led attempts to reopen the state’s schools. Yet, in September, Kotek decried plummeting math and reading scores among children in the state, tweeting that she will “push to make sure all kids are reading by 3rd grade, schools are expanding career technical education, and we’re all working together to help every student succeed.”

“Teachers want to teach,” said Dudash. The unions are “embarrassed that their students are falling further and further behind every year in the educational basics they need because unions and the politicians they’ve corrupted want to turn our classrooms into indoctrination centers.”

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