Is T.E.A. facing financial ruin?
As Jim Wrye & Co. face a couple of major legislative votes on Wednesday (Vouchers, Payroll), some are questioning the continued financial viability of the liberal labor union itself.
Oh sure, the TEA has anywhere from 25,000 to negative-5,000 actual members (they are obviously padding their numbers). In fact, between 2010 and 2015, the TEA lost nearly 1 out of every 3 of its members. That’s gotta hurt, don’t you think?
First there were employee cutbacks. Then came the defection of one of TEA’s largest chapters. Then Wrye started writing big checks to the Republicans at the expense of TEA’s long-time allies in the Black Caucus (and they wonder why the Memphis TEA bolted) in an attempt to be relevant in a GOP-dominated legislature.
But then Wrye came up with a real estate scheme to paper over the organization’s finances. It was a complicated deal that included Metro Nashville schools partially subsidizing the TEA to buy the old Ben West Library as its new headquarters. Mayor Barry was a big supporter of the scheme to help the liberal union (of course she was).
Then something happened. Despite the sweetheart arrangement brokered by the wife of the former head of the A.C.L.U. (that would be Mayor Barry, for those of you not paying attention) the deal fell through. TEA could not come up with the dough. Maybe because a big piece of their income left with the Memphis/Shelby Education Association?
So pity poor Jimbo. He’s losing membership, unmoored from his liberal ideology, floundering and flaunting what money he has left to try and buy off “flexible” Republicans, while having to make do with his old digs.
Could the end be near for Wrye’s tenure at TEA or even for TEA itself?
One can only hope.