A teacher writes:
Do you think that with so many NEA members complaining about the endorsement to the fact that some have threatened to “quit” the union it gives ammo to those that are currently doing their best to bust the unions? I can see them spinning it now: largest union’s own members say unions are no good!
This is not aimed at you in any way…I respect your viewpoints and know you’re a huge union supporter; you just disagree with some of the decisions that are made up top, and lots of the time I agree with you. I’m talking about the people who spout off about it who you know are many of the same people who never attended a union meeting in their lives, never even tried to make a difference in their union.
Just thought you’d have a good take on this, and I respect that you’re always honest when you write and are always willing to look at the big picture.
Thanks Fred–I look forward to hearing your opinion!
Thanks for the kind words.
Not only am I a union supporter, I do the work. Some of the folks who spout off in defense of what are in my opinion, the worst positions that the leadership has imposed on us, also actually do very little. I’ll ask them, “How many folks did you bring to Lobby Day.” Zip. Nada.
Year after year we fill busses to Springfield. No boast. It’s just what we do. I was local prez for ten years. Negotiated at least 7 contracts. Led a successful strike. No boast. It’s just what I do.
As for those people who say they will quit over the endorsement, I have already spent time arguing and tweeting (check it out. see for yourself) the error in their thinking.
I understand their frustration. But they’re wrong.
But it’s not “so many” who have threatened to quit. I find it is very few.
It does do service to the enemies of unions, however.
Some who took the floor of the RA and spoke out against the leadership were NEA leaders themselves. They’re not going any where. And I’m not (except retirement in a year!).
Look. Not only do I strongly disagree with leaving, 12 years ago I was the only Illinois delegate to the NEA RA (let me say that again. I was the ONLY Illinois delegate to the NEA RA) that voted in favor of merger with the AFT. Even though I disagreed with many positions of the AFT, I thought it was crazy to have two national teacher unions, one with a large number of minority teachers and based in urban districts and another one, mainly white, based in rural and suburban districts. Incidentally, Illinois led the fight against merger.
My history is one of union solidarity and labor unity.
I recall that I was asked a few years back to write something about the merger debate for some so-called union activist group. They censored it, wouldn’t publish it because I refused to emphasize differences between the AFT and the NEA.
So, yes. I try and look at the big picture and I have been around long enough to know you win some and lose some. I engage in the debate openly and frankly. Some in leadership don’t like it. But I’m too old to care.
I think any attempts to split the union by encouraging people to leave is to work in the interest of our enemies.
But any attempt by the leadership to shut people out who disagree with them has the same effect.