By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—Now that the Republican supermajority has successfully brought the once powerful Alabama Education Association (AEA) to heel, it appears the organization will, once again, be allowed to deduct membership dues directly from employees paychecks. According to insiders AEA can still lobby and promote public education, but must “certify” that it won’t run “specific candidates” for office.
“Good News! AEA payroll deduction of dues is back by popular demand,” began a letter from AEA Executive Director Dr. Brenda Pike, informing members that beginning in September, dues may be directly paid via payroll deduction.
However, any funds contributed for political advocacy will be collected through bank drafts, according to Pike: “If you are currently contributing to AVOTE and/or NEA Fund for Children and Public Education, these voluntary contributions will continue to be collected via bank draft, uninterrupted, on the second day of each month.”
Once in power, the Republican leadership, once controlled by former Speaker of the House, Mike Hubbard, moved swiftly to dismantle the education organization and end its political dominance.
Hubbard, along with former Gov. Bob Riley, handed the reins of political influence over to the Business Council of Alabama (BCA), where Billy Canary worked in concert with the Hubbard/Riley machine, to elect lawmakers and enact legislation.
Some of the machinations of the triturate of Riley, Hubbard and Canary were revealed during Hubbard’s trial; but others remain under a cloak of darkness.