State of the Union

For decades, teachers unions have used their political power to exert enormous control over the country’s education system. But now, under attack from the left and the right, the unions face the prospect of weakening strength. The Hechinger Report is investigating where the unions stand now and what their future holds. See all our Special Reports

A teachers union embraces reform in New Haven, creating a model for others

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — In the spring of 2011, David Cicarella, the teachers union president here, sat down with a tenured teacher for a difficult discussion. After a warning from…

Under siege—and in bid to stay relevant—teacher unions evolve

HONOLULU — The Hawaii State Teachers Association’s weekly briefing meeting had turned into a battle-planning session; the conference room became a war room. It was late November. Officials were digging…

Q&A: UFT President Mulgrew readies his union for a “seismic shift”

United Federation of Teachers president Michael Mulgrew runs the largest teachers union local in the country representing the teachers of New York City. Like many teachers union affiliates nationwide, the…

Seven moments in UFT history possibly more pivotal than this one

Even as many unions nationwide are struggling to retain their clout, the United Federation of Teachers is still flexing considerable muscle in New York City. But with a teacher evaluation…

Behind the UFT’s robust operations, a small army of chapter leaders

The UFT is a politically powerful organization with millions of dollars at its disposal and sweeping campaigns that aim to make change at the highest levels of education policy. But…

Grassroots groups funded by the union often join its causes

It’s a familiar scene: United Federation of Teachers president Michael Mulgrew taking the podium on the steps of City Hall to decry school closures or toxic school buildings while parents…

For teachers, the perks of union membership can include a personal touch

The public face of the New York City teachers union is often that of a political heavyweight engaging in battle with opponents like the mayor and charter school supporters. For…

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Unions wield much power in elections — but can still lose

Early on in George Latimer’s 2012 race for the open New York Senate District 37 seat, the momentum was swinging in his opponent’s favor. Republican candidate Bob Cohen, a…

Where does a teacher’s dues check go?

Every two weeks, $49.89 is taken out of New York City teachers’ paychecks as union dues. Other jobs have different dues amounts, ranging from $24.95 for paraprofessionals to $51.08…

Teachers union still draws support, money from retired members

At a synagogue in Surfside, Fla., last month, about 40 former teachers gathered for cupcakes, cheesecake and a PowerPoint presentation by a pair of union representatives from New York. The…

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