AFT $750,000 "grant/loan" to DC local has resulted, in effect, in a national takeover of the union and a total lack of democracy. So what else is new?
We alerted Washington DC teachers in this post on Dec. 4, 2008:
Weingarten to Meet with Washington TU Exec Bd Tonight
Just about any teacher politically active in NYC school politics could have told the teachers in Washington DC that Randi Weingarten would make a deal with Michelle Rhee that will end up as a negative for the teachers and the union. First they had to get Rhee to look like she was making nice by toning down her act and I bet the AFT/UFT PR gang sat Rhee down and did a makeover. But we have been reporting on that aspect before.
Initially, the teachers in DC, not knowing Randi and her ability to make you think she is on your side, breathed a sigh of relief at the AFT getting involved. But we warned them to hold onto their pockets. What resulted is what we have seen here in NYC - the old flimflam scam of putting something in front of them for a short period of time and then pulling it away so there is no time to see the underlying traps that will result in Rhee getting most of what she wants.
The AFT is calling it "good for children fair for teachers" campaign. Sure. As we saw in NYC, disastrous for teachers, parents and children.
What teachers all over this nation where they will be dealing with Randi and the AFT have to get clear, is they are not on your side or your advocate. They are middlemen, negotiating to strike a deal, not exactly what how want your union to function. Randi's appearance on April 15 in Chicago is part of the nationalization of the UFT/Unity Caucus sellout here in NYC.
Nathan Saunders, General Vice President of the Washington Teachers Union commented on our post "Weingarten Agreement to Schmoke as Mediator Means ...":
We got less than 1 hour to read a complicated document billed as the WTU contract proposal which is now the basis of a $750,0000 grant/loan from the AFT Executive Council which the WTU Executive board did not ask for in the first place. The WTU Executive Board questioned the checks only to be informed AFT is giving us the money so we should not worry about it. At a rescheduled meeting which I was not in attendance, the WTU Executive Board passed a motion after the fact but that was to a large extent- a rubber stamp. I am concerned that issues associated with our local are from our members and not from AFT central headquarters. I have cautioned our executive board about willy nilly agreeing to matters they don't fully understand. Some are so eager to please they say "yes I will do it" before they understand what rights and responsibilities they are forfeiting.
This document is the foundation for the "good for children fair for teachers" campaign. This story needs to be thoroughly investigated. Are you telling me that Randi did the same thing in NY and the members did not actually know what was in the contract until much later? Is that how you got involved in the mutual consent, ATR, rubber room fiasco? I am so disappointed.
Nathan A. Saunders
General Vice President
Washington Teachers' Union
Can the AFT, which has always been a top-down organization with really 3 NYC/UFT Presidents in the last 35 years (McElvain was a temp holding it for Randi), take even firmer control of urban locals than it had in the past? With out old red-baiting Unity hack Jeff Zahler as AFT staff director, expect the Unity Caucus model to go far and wide.
A basic lack of democracy must go along with this.Demonizing opponents is part of the process. Expect Nathan Saunders and other critics to be so branded.
Rotherham on Weingarten: Two Peas in a Pod
Paul Moore on a "Kindler, Gentler" Rhee