Today is Labor Day. A day that celebrates workers throughout the nation. It is also a day when unions bring out their members to parade on the main streets of cities to show their pride. However, when it comes to our union, the United Federation of Teachers, its not about worker rights its more about how much money the union leadership can get from the members, be it dues or COPE. The union forces each member to fork over $1,346 annually and allow little or no input in the union's decision making process.
The "Unity" caucus controls the union and is run more like a communist dictatorship , think of the Soviet Union, than a Democratic process. To be part of the "Unity" caucus you must take a. loyalty oath and vote the way the leadership tells you or be kicked out of the caucus. All paying union positions are controlled by the union leadership and unless you are part of the "Unity" caucus, you cannot get such a position,
Our disconnected union leadership has allowed for a group of educators to be glorified substitute teachers, moving from school to school like gypsies (ATRs), the only union that allowed this to happen to their members in the City. Furthermore, they support policies like Common Core, high stakes testing, the Charlotte Dainelson rubric, and junk science, despite the majority of teachers opposing these destructive policies. Finally, they negotiated inferior contracts that resulted in massive "givebacks" like the 2005 contract and inferior raises to curry favor with the Mayor and Chancellor (the 2014 contract).
The result is that we have a union leadership that is more interested in political power and control than representing their members and on this Labor Day its time for our members understand that our union leadership is not about representing their members but serving their own self-interest. Maybe one day we will get a real leader who will champion member rights and when that happens I will be proud to march alongside my union in support of worker rights.