Category: Teacher unions

#FreeRider and #Freeloader obscure labor’s challenges post-Janus

ImageThe Supreme Court’s long-anticipated – and feared by progressives – decision outlawing the collection of fees in public employee unions equivalent to costs of collective bargaining was met with indignant or defiant words, rightly decrying this attack on organized labor. The response, though, has mirrored what has been missing in labor’s understanding of how we got to this point and what we need to climb out – and win.

The Red State Walkouts

An analysis - and homage - to the work of teachers

 ImageWhen I write for New Politics, I tag my blogs with key words. I wonder how many other Left publications include "teachers unions" under "labor" or include "education" as a separate topic and run critical analyses—as we do?

Teacher walkouts in Oklahoma and Kentucky challenge GOP legislatures

Kentucky school districts shut todayTeachers in Oklahoma and Kentucky massed in their respective state capitols on April 2, to demand GOP legislatures revoke  bills damaging to education passed in virtual stealth. The spark plug in Kentucky is a group of activist parents with teachers, #SaveOurSchools Kentucky.  In both states the movement has been organized outside the official teachers unions, using social media as well as traditional organizing techniques of talking with colleagues and neighbors about the issues. Another struggle of teachers is simmering, near boil, in Arizona.

Crossroads and Country Roads: Wildcat West Virginia and the Possibilities of a Working Class Offensive

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During the four days I spent in West Virginia, I was repeatedly thanked for coming to support teachers from out of state, though mostly people seemed a bit surprised that I cared. Perhaps it was because I arrived at the exact moment that most of the national media was leaving town following the first – false – announcement that an agreement had been reached.

Why support the strike of Jersey City teachers?

 ImageFor some, the decision to support workers who strike is a given.  We defend the right to join a union and exercise the right to strike in every country, as a human right. Defending the rights of workers to organize and withhold their labor when they need to use this weapon is as much a social justice issue as  fighting racism, battling sexism, or protecting immigrants from deportation.

These Teachers Refuse to Be Weaponized

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The call to “arm the teachers” started as another stink bomb President Donald Trump lobbed into the crowd at a conservative rally. But somehow, the concept cycled through the 24-hour news loop and, within a few hours, became a ubiquitous meme. Now, the morally repugnant idea of gun-toting teachers in America’s schools has taken center stage in the nation’s macabre debate on gun safety.

West Virginia’s strike is no “wildcat”

Getting the language right

National City, CA teachers, in a contract fight themselves, show solidarity

National City, CA teachers, in a contract fight themselves, show solidarity

           

West Virginia's school employees teach US labor a huge lesson

ImageAs the AFL-CIO holds its day of action across the US, protesting what has been cast as a likely loss in the Janus case, which the Right intends to use to destroy labor and the Left, a movement of school employees in West Virginia is showing organized labor what it means to be a union without the right to strike and without collective bargaining.

UFT shows how Not to protect unions and the public sector

ImageIn its January meeting, after a pro-forma discussion, the Delegate Assembly of the UFT (United Federation of Teachers), which still has the legal right to bargain collectively on behalf of New York City's teachers, voted down a resolution to work with community groups to support Black Lives Matter in the schools in February. LeRoy Barr, UFT's assistant secretary, co-staff director, and Chairperson of the Unity Caucus, gave the UFT leadership's rationale for rejecting the motion. Support for BLM was, he contended, a splinter issue, divisive, at a time when the union had to stay focused on what was key, the Janus decision and the threat to collective bargaining rights.

Self-organization in the 2016 Palestinian Teachers Strike

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From February 14 to March 13, 2016, 35,000 Palestinian teachers in the West Bank government-run school system were on strike. The teachers’ goal was to hold the Palestinian Authority to the terms of a 2013 agreement between the General Union of Palestinian Teachers (GUPT) and the Ministry of Education, an agreement the Palestinian Authority had reneged on for three years running. (Ma’an News, Feb. 16, 2016)

Union Democracy and Organizing Teachers in Charter Schools

Guest Blog by David Koenig

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In June, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) proudly announced that teachers at Cesar Chavez Prep Charter School in Washington, DC charter school were the first to vote to form a charter school union in DC. What the AFT has not discussed was the decision of AFT organizers to withdraw a petition for a vote at a larger DC charter school, at Paul Public Charter School, one of the first charter schools in DC. Meanwhile, teachers in the Chicago Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff have voted overwhelmingly to merge with the Chicago Teachers Union. Their statement foregrounds the need for union democracy: “If you trust teachers, then you should trust their democratic voice — their union. Unions make schools, both district and charter, work better.”

Standing in Solidarity with Sarah Chambers

A Teacher Who Stands Up For Kids

Sarah Chambers is an award winning special education teacher in Chicago’s Saucedo Academy. Sarah is a local leader a national figure in the fight to defend and transform public education against the corporate education reform attack. She is a relentless advocate for special education students and LGBTQ students. Sarah is a published author, organizer, and speaker on issues of education reform and social justice.

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A Teacher Who's Dangerous – To Chicago's Power Elite

ImageDuring the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) spring break, Sarah Chambers, beloved to her special needs students, well-known (to staff and parents of her school), notorious (to CPS labor relations officials), received a letter saying she was suspended and had to stay away from the school.  Though Sarah was an early member of the Caucus of Rank and File Educators (CORE) that is now the CTU’s elected leadership,  she remained a teacher of special needs kids who represents her school in the House of Delegates and serves on the union’s Executive Board.

Public Education and Teachers Unions at a Crossroads

Public education is truly at a crossroads in the US, as are both the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the National Education Association (NEA). 

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Accreditation struggle at City College of San Francisco – Guest blog by Rick Baum

 In this guest blog, Rick Baum, who  teaches Political Science at City College of San Francisco and is a member of AFT 2121, reports on the struggle over accreditation and the continued attempts to destroy the institution.

Trump’s Victory: What American Federation of Teachers President Weingarten should say

ImageRandi Weingarten, who engineered the 1.6 million member union’s early endorsement of Hillary Clinton has issued a statement about the election, lamenting that voters chose to believe Trump about economic insecurity, rather than hearing the identical message, sent by Clinton and unions.

Mexico's teachers face more repression, win more support

Support for resistance to the current model of education reform in México continues to grow after the Mexican Secretary of the Interior, , to Oaxacan protesters and members of Section 22 of SNTE, urging them to stop their blockade of highways.

#Brexit, Support for Mexico's Teachers, and Solidarity From Below

To show support for Mexico's teachers, demonstrations are being held internationally, as they are in the U.S.  In today's blog about the situation in Mexico, Mary Compton provides background to the current repression and information about how readers can support the teachers.

2016 UFT election results: Some Good News, But A Great Deal Of Work Still To Do

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The good news is that the MORE/New Action slate won the seven seats on the UFT Executive Board elected by high school teachers. Furthermore, voter turnout increased across the board from roughly 18% in 2013 to roughly 24% in 2016. Finally, the absolute number of votes for the opposition increased in every division. However, still less than one-quarter of UFT members participated in this election. And the slight increase in voter turnout benefited the ruling Unity caucus at least as much as it benefited MORE/New Action.

A May Day Message to Teachers – On the Front Lines of a War on Public Education

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(These are my remarks at an evening panel of what its organizers referred to as a "non-conference" so as to convey the need for participants to interact with one another's ideas, rather than present papers. Sessions spanned two full days. The two evening sessions were videotaped. When they are made available I will post them on New Politics.)

Chicago teachers (again) rewrite a playbook stacked against labor

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The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) strike April 1 is not primarily about increased school funding, standardized testing, pensions for teachers, or even just corporate taxation, though the union is fighting for all of these. The strike is about democracy, especially who owns our society’s resources and how decisions about those resources are made.

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