Committee on Political Education: What is it?
Our strength at the ballot box as a united union is critical as we strive to improve the jobs and lives of our members while upgrading the quality of services they provide. And even more importantly, the people we elect at the local, state and national levels have a direct impact on your paycheck, your pension, and the resources available for you to do your job right. Why wouldn't we get involved?
What is COPE?
COPE stands for the Committee on Political Education. These committees exist at both the state and local levels and only dues paying members in good standing may serve.
What does a COPE committee do?
Committees at the local level are responsible for running information and mobilization campaigns on local district related issues, school board candidates, and screening and recommending endorsed local and state legislative candidate.
Why is this important to me?
COPE empowers our members by:
• Providing political education for NTU members
• Raising political funds
• Endorsing candidates based on our issues
• Supporting and contributing to endorsed candidates
• Conducting voter registration drives
• Implementing get-out-the-vote programs
• Educating public officials on NTU’s issues
• Contacting and rallying support for NTU’s issues
• Working on ballot initiatives
Are my dues money being used to elect candidates or for political purposes?
No. The union collects voluntary contributions separate from your union dues. Use this application for COPE deductions. For only $1 a paycheck, you can do a lot of good!
What does the money pay for?
A common myth is that the union's political money just goes towards candidates' campaigns. This notion is simply untrue. Indeed, we do use the money to support candidates who support our issues. We wouldn't be much of a union if we didn't support candidates who support union members and their rights!
But NTU COPE also uses your contributions money for important issue-related campaigns such as FMLA/NJ Family Leave Insurance, sick leave for per diem employees, and Chapter 78 relief (reducing our health benefit contributions).
This money also goes to pay for legislative issue mailings that keep our members informed on the issues and phone banking to mobilize our members on the issues at the right times. All of these things take money!
How does COPE make us a stronger union?
What's at stake for members and their families? Working families deserve effective representation in government. The first step is to elect people who will stand up for what's right. NTU COPE works to support candidates for local, state and national office who will fight for such important issues as:
• Preserving Social Security
• Ensuring quality healthcare
• Protecting Medicare
• Safeguarding pension funds
• Expanding educational opportunities
• Promoting fair taxes
• Strengthening environmental protections
Doesn't the union just support democrats?
No, no and no. NTU COPE and our parent organization the American Federation of Teachers endorse candidates based on their voting record for our issues (or their pledge of support if not an incumbent).
We believe that in politics, it's issues first, candidates second, partisanship never!
How do I join COPE?