Sunday, February 24, 2008

Puerto Rican Teachers Union (FMPR) and the AFT

Updated Sunday, 1pm

This Friday ICE will discuss a resolution for the March 6 Delegate Assembly supporting the striking teachers in Puerto Rico. Watch this closely and you will see how the AFT/UFT and the US labor movement in general collaborate with the government to kill militant movements. (Any UFT/BloomKlein collaboration watchers surprised?)

Check the NYC FMPR support web site here. A recent posting said this:

"The government of Puerto Rico, in collaboration with leaders of several U.S. unions, (e.g. the American Federation of Teachers, SEIU, Change To Win) is attempting to destroy the rising militant and effective organizing efforts of the FMPR to improve educational and teaching conditions on the island and to undermine opposition to President Bush's No Child Left Behind, a privatization program on the island."

The FMPR has successfully fought government attempts to squash the voice of teachers and community in decision-making in Puerto Rico's school system. The FMPR effectively seceded in 2006 from American Federation of Teachers which abysmally failed to crusade for better
conditions while collecting millions in dues money from Puerto Rican teachers.

EIA's Mike Antonucci (caveat - a notable critic of unions often accused of being supported by many anti-union forces but does accurate, though selective reporting) has written about the history of the AFT and FMPR. It looks like in 2003 an opposition caucus won the election with one of the planks being to disaffiliate from the AFT and FMPR has been under attack since then.

(Imagine if some day an opposition won an election in the UFT and the kind of attacks to undermine it that would come from all over the place. Imagine that the AFT would work to undermine the people in power and do anything it could to bring Unity back? Did they play a role like this in Chicago to support Marilyn Stewart against Debbie Lynch?))

There has been some bone of contention as to whether a resolution supporting the PR teachers should contain something about the AFT and the role they have played - after all, we are asking the next Pres. of the AFT to support teachers that they have opposed.

What they will do is come up with some pablum saying they support the teachers - a substitute of some kind?

Then there's the role SEIU and Dennis Rivera is playing to undermine the FMPR: - (with the AFT cheering?) by organizing a rival union (the typical Shanker-backed "dual unionism" to undermine left-leaning unions.)

Note this Rivera statement:
"The president of the SEIU, Dennis Rivera, assured that "the approach between both organizations [the alternative AMPR] was mutual", and recognized that its union never made a similar approach to the Federation of Teachers, the current exclusive representative of the teachers. He reminded that the present leadership of the Federation dis-affiliated itself from the American Federation of Teachers (AFT, in English) because, in his opinion, the "rhetoric" of the Federation "is to attack the international unions". "We did not see the possibility of an alliance with them", he declared.

Note the code words for - these are lefties.

I collated the EIA stuff I could track down in chronological order. It is posted at Norm's Notes here. In addition, I posted more info, including the proposed reso at the Norms Notes blog - search using "FMPR" to find them all.


  1. It's absolutely disgusting that SEIU and Dennis Rivera are using dues money from hard-working janitors, health workers and government workers to cut the legs out from underneath striking teachers in Puerto Rico. The Puerto Rican teachers have been in negotiations for 27 months and are fighting to increase miserable salaries (starting teachers earn only $19,200 per year) and terrible conditions for students and teachers (a recent AP article described how underfunded many of the schools are - peeling paint, exposed wiring, leaky roofs, no textbooks for children, chalkboards that are so old they can't be erased, etc). I think if more SEIU members were aware that Dennis Rivera and Andy Stern were using their dues money to raid the FMPR and replace it with some suck-up union like the AMPR, they would be outraged. Imagine if someone took some of your monthly dues money and used it to undermine dedicated, underpaid teachers who have taken a courageous decision to go on strike in order to fight for what is right. It's time to get the word out to SEIU members across the country. This is outrageous.

  2. There is coverage in the Feb 29th edition of the NY Daily News about SEIU's unprincipled and outrageous effort to raid the Puerto Rican teachers' union. To see it, copy and paste the following URL into your browser:

    Also, there was brief coverage on Democracy Now's February 29th radio show (


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