Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Rebellion in Detroit Teachers Union Against Race to the Top

We had a report on the recall of Detroit Federation of Teachers President last week:

Weingarten Ally, Detroit Teacher Union Leader Recalled After Disastrous Contract

We surmised that this would never be allowed to stand and Kevin Johnson refused to accept the results and has just ruled the meeting out of order. They never give up power. If ICE/TJC were to win the election, Unity would find ways to invalidate the results. Or some other trick.

We have more reports coming in from Detroit. Angel put up a post with some comments at the GEM blog: Detroit Teachers Union Members Take Over Union Meeting in Recall Fight!

And we just got this one from what looks like a caucus challenging in the union elections, with a focus on winning delegates to the AFT convention in Seattle. I hope they do and greet the 800+ Unity Caucus slugs who feed out of the patronage trough from the UFT with a Bronx cheer. (Ask some of them why they are not going to support the rally at Bloomberg and they will tell you they don't want to lose their free trips.)

There is a major rebellion against the Race to the Top policies in the teachers' union in Detroit, led by BAMN (see member teachers.

The president of the DFT , Keith Johnson, has been working hand in hand with Robb Bobb (appointed pro-charter Czar over DPS) to ram through all the revisions in the teachers' contract required to attract charters and qualify for Race to the Top, and he prevented a traditional vote at the December mass meeting attended by 3000 teachers on the tentative agreement because the majority was against it.

Johnson then basically cheated to get the contract passed, and as a result we have had about 80 teachers attending weekly caucus meetings to plan how to recall Johnson (we've got about 1400 signatures on a recall petition so far - 400 more than required). The last two DFT membership meetings have had over 400 teachers attending, and Johnson was forced at both meetings to surround himself with gang squad cops, turn off the lights, etc. because the rank and file was demanding that he step down and let them run a democratic meeting. The Feb. 11 mtg should be the trial on the recall charges.

The caucus is running a full slate for convention delegates to challenge Randi Weingarten's leadership of the AFT nationally and bring down the pro-Duncan policies she is advocating. I've attached the most recent flyer that gives a general description of what is happening and what the caucus stands for and the particular strategies we are using to unravel the contract. Even if we don't succeed at this or that tactic, the overall rebellion is sure to make any charter company think 2,3,4 times about investing in Detroit.

We want to encourage like-minded teachers in AFTand NEA to run for convention delegate (nominations are due next Thursday for AFT delegates) so that we can have a national, united attack against Arne Duncan's policies at this summer's conventions.

For more information see:

Defending Public Education in Detroit

Donna Stern
BAMN National Coordinator

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