Friday, January 15, 2010

Weingarten Ally, Detroit Teacher Union Leader Recalled After Disastrous Contract, updated

See comment 2 by Mike Antonucci of the EIA who checked the Detroit Fed of T web site which says the recall was illegal. Read on to where I say that Randi and the AFT would not allow this to happen.

With urban unions under severe attack in Washington, LA, Chicago, New Haven and New York, the Detroit teacher contract may be the most severe. And of course, Randi Weingarten and the AFT were handmaidens. (And for those of you who are impressed by Michael Mulgrew's rhetoric as somehow making him different than Randi, come back and talk to me in a year or two.)

Detroit teachers union activist Steve Conn sent this out.

This is some reasonably accurate tv reporting on our fight in Detroit to defend public education and reclaim our union:

Detroit Federation of Teachers (AFT 231) members voted overwhelmingly tonight to relieve Keith Johnson from his duties as DFT President until a recall vote is taken at the February 11th membership meeting. The membership also voted for the DFT to join the lawsuit against the $250 TIP "loan", and urge all members to immediately file State of Michigan Employment Wage Complaint Forms.

Early in the meeting, Johnson declared all efforts to recall him or support the lawsuit "out of order," in spite of a clear majority vote that these questions be placed on the meeting's agenda. When members refused to allow him to continue the meeting undemocratically, he walked out of the room, later returning to try to adjourn the meeting. Refusing to adjourn, the members passed three motions: (1) supporting the lawsuit against the $250 TIP; (2) setting the recall vote for the February 11th General Membership Meeting; and (3) relieving Johnson of "his duties and obligations as DFT President pending the recall vote."

DFT members are determined that the question of Keith Johnson's recall be decided by democratic membership vote and in accordance with the DFT Constitution.

The recall of DFT president Kevin Johnson, a Weingarten ally, is an early warning sign for the AFT and Weingarten, who praised the contract and was involved in the negotiations.

One report says:
"In a paid advertisement in the Sunday New York Times, Randi Weingarten, the president of AFT, praised the Detroit contract, saying it was “much more than a collective bargaining agreement; it is a covenant between educators and administrators…”

Weingarten makes clear that the AFT and DFT want to be full partners in Obama’s school restructuring plans. She boasts that the agreement includes “several reforms that will drive the enhancement of student achievement, including school based bonuses, peer assistance and review and a new, comprehensive teacher evaluation system.”

At the same time, the AFT president said, “both parties recognized the severe financial conditions of the district and sought innovative approaches to save money,” including the pay and health care cuts “that will save the district millions.”

In a separate press release, Weingarten said the educational provisions in the deal “would make it one of the most progressive big-city teacher contracts of our day.”

Given past oppressive actions by the AFT and Weingarten in Portland.

See ed notes exclusive reports:
Education Notes Online: AFT Hack Attack
Education Notes Online: Randi In Portland (OR)

I wouldn't be surprised to see some kind of similar attempt by AFT goons to subvert the anti Johnson movement. A complete takeover of the union is not inconceivable. These people don't give up power easily.

With Nathan Saunders running for President in Washington DC and CORE challenging in Chicago some trees might be shaking at the AFT convention in Seattle this summer. Some activist groups from around the nation are talking about attending to force the AFT and Weingarten to confront the assault on public schools.

Steve sent this a few days ago:

Please email or call me about what is happening in your city or AFT local!

I will be reporting to our regular weekly citywide teachers' meeting.

We need to communicate and coordinate!!

Steve Conn


AFT Local 231

P.S. Our latest plan is to run for delegates to this summer's AFT Convention: We must do everything we can to get the convention to turn around the AFT and begin a national fight to defend public education!

Interested in, or planning to be, a delegate to the convention?


andrew said...

The Milton Friedman-inspired Reagan revolutionaries should have marked the Bush years as the zenith of their power. That era spit up hucksters and charlatans like Rod Paige, Margaret Spellings, Armstrong Williams, Jack Welch, Ruby K. Payne. It was certainly the time the attack on public education appeared ready to bear fruit. They had established cancerous cults; Teach For America, Green Dot, KIPP to eat away at the system from the inside. They had public school system wreckers like Michelle Rhee and Joel Klein in place, kids were dropping out in droves, and teachers were in full flight.

But something happened on the way to a global economy and a privatized education system to serve it. The whole thing fell apart. Really, it's been in all the papers.

The Business Roundtable, which has directed the attack on public education is now deeply enmeshed in an existential struggle to save itself and its crumbling global economy. So the CEO's have turned their school privatization campaign over to the US government and Obama's Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Duncan soldiers on with the dead-end corporate catechism. Charter schools are good, public school teachers are bad, and their unions need to stop their resistance to merit pay. Duncan has pledged to use billions of taxpayers money to close inner-city public schools and make sure those really bad teachers in those schools finally get their comeuppance.

Randi Weingarten is incapable of responding with anything but surrender to the assault on the public schools and teachers. She's afraid of the powerful forces making this attack. To take them on would endanger her $350,000 paycheck.

Mike Antonucci said...

Hey Norm:

This is posted on the DFT website (

"The Jan. 14 General Membership Meeting of the DFT was adjourned early due to disruptive behavior. Information and business that was to be carried out will be posted on this website shortly. Reports that the president was recalled and the DFT voted to join a lawsuit ARE FALSE."

Game on, I guess.