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A Tribute to Bob Chanin

A Life Dedicated to Public Education
 

Last Updated July 9, 2009

NEA General Counsel Bob Chanin has called his 41 years at NEA "the closest you can get to having a well-paying job doing pro bono work."

Chanin has briefed and argued five cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and has filed amicus curiae briefs in another 25. Under Chanin's legal guidance, the NEA achieved a breakthrough in 1965 by becoming the first professional organization to desegregate. The then-predominantly White NEA merged at the national level with the American Teachers Association, which represented Black teachers. It took 10 years to enforce the merger on sometimes reluctant state affiliates. Chanin helped to oust all-White Mississippi and Louisiana teachers' groups that refused to integrate.

NEA Vice President Lily Eskelsen presents Bob Chanin with a "Show Us Your Amicus Briefs" T-shirt — the brainchild of the Bob Chanin Caucus — at the 2008 Representative Assembly.

Pre-Eminent Advocate

Chanin, a widely recognized authority on public-sector labor relations, helped draft and implement labor statutes in 13 states. He has negotiated collective bargaining agreements on behalf of NEA affiliates in various jurisdictions. "I don't think there was any negotiation that I was involved in from beginning to end that ultimately ended up in a strike," he said.

Chanin currently serves as president of the National Organization of Lawyers for Education Associations, and as an executive and board member of the National Resource Center for Consumers of Legal Services.

Father, Grandfather, and Emerging Artist

Chanin and his wife of over 50 years, Rhoda, have three children, Jeffrey, Stacy, and Lisa, and five grandchildren. In retirement, Chanin hopes to return to his childhood love of art.

Truth be known, I never really thought I would ever be standing in front of this group talking about Bob’s retirement.  The thought is alien to me.

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Video

Bob Chanin Farewell Speech

Bob Chanin Farewell Speech
NEA General Counsel Bob Chanin addresses delegates at the 2009 Representative Assembly.

Video

Tribute to Bob Chanin

Tribute to Bob Chanin
Shown at the 2009 Representative Assembly, this video retrospective pays tribute to NEA General Counsel Bob Chanin.

Video

Bob Chanin Classic Moment 1

Bob Chanin Classic Moment 1
Perhaps the only documented instance in which Bob Chanin did not have the answer.

Video

Bob Chanin Classic Moment 2

Bob Chanin Classic Moment 2
Direct and authoritative, Bob Chanin displays typical form at the Representative Assembly.


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Bob Chanin by the Numbers

5 Number of cases Chanin battled before the US Supreme Court
4 US Supreme Court cases he won
25 Cases for which he offered “friend of court” briefs to the Supreme Court
5 Number of times to which Chanin seems to prefer love to war at the Supreme Court
1 Equal Rights Amendment T-shirt he was still wearing at the conclusion of that performance