Norm- rumors persist that the UFT leadership is quite concerned with the upcoming Supreme Court decision regarding dues check-off. Right now the court appears to reflect 4 v4 with the swing vote vital. Question?? If the union lost the dues check-off in your opinion would that perhaps allow the UFT to strike when a future impasse happens?? Leadership has been quite hesitant to even consider a strike with the dues check-off a vital concern..... COMMENT ON ED NOTES: UFT Election Question: Why Focus on HS Seats to Exclusion of Elementary?UPDATED:
There's lots of talk at the weekend conference of national caucuses in Newark from 15 states and what the unions will do. We have people from Wisconsin who have an enormous burden to keep people in the union - they must be re-certified every year -- but we've heard amazing stories of how they have managed to get people to stay in the union.
I was wondering what the UFT would do if the Court rules against the unions, especially unions that have capitulated to ed deform and sold out members. I heard stories about Unity-like unions that make your hair curl - go-along, get-along, non-fighters, etc--- gee, if you read Ed Notes you didn't even need to go to Newark to know that. But also about people who sill steal elections, use any dirty tactics to win, etc. I'll get more into some of this stuff in the future - how even if the opposition were to win in a UFT election, there would be a court case challenging the result or they would find ways to manipulate things to keep anyone else from taking power.
In unions like these we may expect mass defections. How would the UFT react in the face of mass defections?
The meat of the thesis I want to offer is that oppressive undemocratic union leaderships - like the UFT - are not as afraid of loss of members to agency fee as people are assuming. Let me explain but first clear up a misconception the comment expresses.
This is not about dues checkoff
No matter what the Court rules the UFT will still get dues checkoff - where the DOE deducts dues and sends it to the UFT so they don't have to collect dues themselves -- that is the much worse threat to them - and the reason they won't ever strike because they will then lost dues checkoff for a period of time, like they did around 1982 as a result of the 1975 strike.. [If you want to read the 1982 court decision here is a google doc.]
What is agency fee?
Some people don't join the union - there are over 3000 such people in the UFT - but in non-right to work states they still pay dues because the union represents them in collective bargaining. They can file grievances and are entitled to representation but can't vote in union elections and may even lose the right to attend union meetings. That would change if the Court rules against the concept of agency fee - and make every state right to work.
There are already a batch of anti-Unity types who are drooling at the thought of not paying dues to the UFT to punish them. How unhappy would the UFT/Unity leadership be to lose these people even if there is a loss of revenue from them? In essence the UFT pays to remove a block of anti-Unity votes and if UFT elections reach the day where they are getting close, this helps them keep tighter control of the UFT.
One thing I've learned - and had reaffirmed at the weekend meetups with caucuses battling Unity type unions - is that they will stop at nothing to keep control of the union, even if it means undermining and weakening their own union. There is historical precedence and when people told me their local horror stories and how shocked they were to find this out I got the idea that it is important to share some of the histories of repression on the part of the Unity like leaderships.
More to come.