|Lack of UFT/AFT democracy will retard charter school organizing
I attended a Left Forum panel headed by Leo Casey last Saturday where he and and an AFT charter school organizer talked about how essential it is to organize charter school teachers. I agree. But left unsaid was the Godzilla in the room: what do you say to charter school teachers about the state of democracy, or lack thereof, in the UFT/AFT?
I won't go into the gory details here. But I will say that Leo's fellow panelists congratulated him for sitting through the assault those of us in the opposition put him through. They loved the debate. But where is that same debate taking place within the halls of the UFT? Not at the highest level, the AdCom. Not at the Executive Board where every single member (including the 8 New Action) were endorsed by Unity. And certainly not at the Delegate Assembly.
And not in most of the schools that are controlled by Unity Caucus chapter leaders (see the signs of how some district reps are attempting to undermine Fight Back Friday because they perceive the organizing efforts of GEM, NYCORE and Teachers Unite as a threat. (Isn't it interesting that the "official" caucuses ICE and TJC have laid back on this even though many of the individual members are involved?)
But then again, Leo Casey, who threw around terms like "Trotsky" and "Rosa Luxemberg" in his usual red-baiting attempts to taint those who disagree with the UFT leadership, is possibly the single most intellectually dishonest person in their entire operation - and even his colleagues know it.
So it was with some interest that I came across this item at Gotham:
The Times’ labor reporter is taking questions about unions and labor law. (City Room)
With this excerpt from Steven Greenhouse:
Does internal union democracy help organizing efforts?
There are those who, perhaps with a cynical view of life, contend that internal union democracy hurts unionizing efforts because one needs a tough, forceful union leader, perhaps like Jimmy Hoffa, to take charge and push people to organize. But I disagree. I think internal union democracy is needed to show potential union members that unions are democratic, responsive organizations, that they listen to union members and their wants and needs. Besides, internal union democracy is vital to help stamp out union corruption. Repeated eruptions of union corruption have badly embarrassed the labor movement and of course made it harder for unions to recruit new members.So, yes, I support the idea of organizing charter school teachers. But the UFT/AFT efforts will go nowhere until the leadership democratizes the union. See the ICE 2010 platform for a list of 16 suggested reforms. (It could be 50). Part VI: For a militant, progressive, democratic UFT
Oh, and it would really be nice to see New Action, once the major voice in calling for a more democratic union, come back to their roots. But then again, that might jeapardize their seats on the Executive Board, which is precisely our point as to why the UFT/Unity Caucus is a one party system in control for 50 years.
Now just watch the Unity slugs claim I should just be quiet because the charter school operators and ed deformers will use the undemocratic nature of the UFT/AFT to defeat organizing efforts. I even noted that E4E made these points on TV.
So, the answer is in this Feb. 18 Ed Notes blog:
Mr. Mulgrew, Tear Down This Wall
AFTER BURN: THE RIGHT SAYS WE HAVE THE HIGHEST CORP TAXES IN THE WORLD. WHAT WORLD ARE THEY LIVING IN?
But Nobody Pays That
G.E.’s Strategies Let It Avoid Taxes Altogether
Published: March 24, 2011
the nation’s largest corporation, had a very good year in 2010.
The company reported worldwide profits of $14.2 billion, and said $5.1
billion of the total came from its operations in the United States.
Its American tax bill? None. In fact, G.E. claimed a tax benefit of $3.2