Friday, July 27, 2012

@AFT - Friday July 27 11:30AM - Solution Driven Unionism

Call it SDU. Randi's speech @AFT. A very different atmosphere from 2 years ago in Seattle. If Bill Gates showed up, everyone would walk out.
Era of good feeling
I'll try not to be snide -- or not too snide. I made up my mind I would try to cover this from a neutral perspective. which may violate my major dictum: watch what she does, not what she says. I hope we will have a version we can post -- I will post the video --- you really should watch this -- so many interesting high (and low) lights.

I'm going to try to give her an air hug --  just as I hugged her after her speech at the FAIR TEST event honoring Ravitch last month because it was a few hours before the Wisconsin results and her demeanor gave signs the news would not be good --- I really felt bad for the box she is in -- or has put herself and the union in.

She is coming on militant. Talks about beating Ohio Governor who then turned around and attacked only the Cleveland TU and lost badly. As Klonsky pointed out he could understand her if she said we did best we can but can't accept Cleveland is a model for nation. That is a major Randi contradiction.

Look at Chicago -- 98% of 92% voted for strike (rumor).

Weird -- combined massive loss in Cleveland with victory in Chicago as wins.

AFT grows in size in every division -- in spite of open season on teacher unions our union has more members than when we met 2 years ago (MAJOR contrast to NEA losses -- what's up with that? -- let's talk merget? -- we know Randi's dream is to lead a 4 million member national union.)

Talks about her teaching at Clara Barton

Solution driven unionism

Solving problems rather than winning arguments --- sounds like same old

"In NY State our union fought Mayor Bloomberg -- boos - "the dear man" (she forgot the plane ride and the shared box at Yankee Stadium).

She lists all the place where solution based unionism worked -- but did they? Used Other C word - Collaboration.

Now talks about common core standards -- "however you feel about CCS" -- to hedge AFT basic support -- but says CCS could turn into another testing scheme. GOOD!

Share my lesson -- another exciting initative. Like 2 years ago the same excitement with Bill Gates. Sorry, I promised to be good.

Upset with reformers who try to minimize effects of poverty. Attacks "no excuses" policy.
Wrap around services. She's proud that her home local in NYC is doing a similar initiative.

West Virginia gov is collaborative unlike Wis and Oh. SDU.

Damn -- battery ran out and I missed a chunk of speech. Maybe AFT will put it up.

My eyes giving out -- thank goodness Lee Sustar is sitting next to me and taking careful notes and will write it up at Socialist Worker.

Housing investments in teacher housing ---Lee points out this is her initiative with Rahm in Chicago -- I wish I could record his commentary as Randi is speaking -- he is in touch with a lot more than me.

SDU -- use our pensions to build jobs will make it easier to preserve them -- a few oy veys from my neighbors.

Talking about Roy Roberts, who forced horrible contracts on public workers and how she is getting a meeting with him this afternoon and how the rally of all of us today is forcing him to meet with her.

Taylor Law for all?
I hear from others at the press table that basically she is offering giving up right to strike in exchange for -- what?

Broward -- disgusted by what is going on but proud of AFT role.
If Wall st had done one tenth what AFT did to set things right we would be in good shape.
Candidates we are endorsing are not perfect but they recognize it is one thing to bargain hard, another thing to end right to bargain.

Can we answer every agenda that won't work with ideas that will?

Makes case for Obama vs Romney (would preserve Dept of Ed only to club unions into submission -- make no mistake -- Romney wants to wipe us off the map. I don't begrudge him his wealth but should Mitt Romney be our next president? Resounding NO. Cheers for Obama. Do we agree his admin has put too much emph on high stakes testing? YES. But we will continue to push back on it. Praises Obama stim plan which kept public school jobs.

 It is hard to argue that she doesn't make sense with this strong endorsement of Obama -- but I'm still voting Green. But if I were the deciding vote in swing state I imagine I would vote for Obama. Romney is really just sickening in all ways.

She just concluded to big applause. There was a lot in the speech that worked for me. Maybe 70% worth.

I'm shutting down the video now.
Later I'll try to get to the rally and then tonight to Karen Lewis appearance at the Peace and Justice event, followed by the Chicago TU reception.

Previous @AFT posts:

The Motorless City: @AFT Convention

@AFT Convention: Thursday July 26

@AFT - Friday July 27 10AM Report

 AFT Press Release

For Immediate Release
July 27, 2012
Carolyn Fiddler

American Federation of Teachers Convention Kicks Off in Detroit 

AFT President Randi Weingarten to Deliver Keynote Address
Before Rally at Detroit Public Schools Headquarters

WASHINGTON—The American Federation of Teachers 2012 convention will begin today, July 27, at Cobo Center in Detroit, where more than 3,000 delegates will gather from across the country representing preK-12 teachers; paraprofessionals and school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; early childhood educators; federal, state and local government employees; and nurses and other healthcare professionals.
The convention opens with AFT President Randi Weingarten’s keynote address introducing “solution-driven unionism,” a redefinition of unionism that advances solutions focused on members, the people they serve and the communities in which they live. Solution-driven unionism will advance creative solutions to unify members and their communities around issues important to all working people.
Weingarten also will announce that the AFT’s 1.5 million membership number held steady since the last convention, with the union organizing 79 new units in 18 states since the last convention. The AFT organized new members in every constituency—college and university faculty and staff, graduate assistants, PSRPs, healthcare professionals, early childhood educators, state and local government workers, and teachers in public school systems and in charter schools.
After delivering her keynote address, Weingarten will lead delegates to join the Detroit Federation of Teachers and other Detroit AFT members as they gather at the New Center One building to demand that Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager Roy Roberts return to the table to negotiate a contract that invests in Detroit’s public schools and students. Roberts has agreed to Weingarten’s request for a meeting, and the two will discuss the issue during the rally.
To request media credentials, please contact Carolyn Fiddler at To pick up media credentials, media should go to the AFT press office in Cobo Center’s Macomb Hall.
AFT Convention
Friday, July 27
  • AFT President Randi Weingarten delivers keynote address
  • 9 a.m. Cobo Center, 1 Washington Blvd., Detroit
  • AFT joins DFT for Detroit Public Schools rally
  • Noon DPS Headquarters, New Center One Building, 3031 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit 

The opinions expressed on EdNotesOnline are solely those of Norm Scott and are not to be taken as official positions (though Unity Caucus/New Action slugs will try to paint them that way) of any of the groups or organizations Norm works with: ICE, GEM, MORE, Change the Stakes, NYCORE, FIRST Lego League NYC, Rockaway Theatre Co., Active Aging, The Wave, Aliens on Earth, etc.


  1. Norm: You might want to hold on that air hug.
    Randi needs to save face and this is the only way to do it.

    Think about her motives:

    1: Karen Lewis is the real star, so Randi has to try to outshine her.
    2: She knows what Diane Ravitch is going to say in her speech, and Randi can't seem like she disagree.

    Randi is all smoke and mirrors. She doesn't want to lose her hold and she must know her own Unity puppets are upset too. I am sure she is reading NYC Educator's scathing review of her. But believe me, behind the scenes, she is making nice with Emanuel, Duncan and Bloomberg. Gates may not be a speaker, but Randi met with him recently.

  2. I agree with the first comment and add this to the discussion. A delegate at the Detroit AFT convention told me that the attendance is way down as are the vendors and that the over all atmosphere is nothing like previous conventions. If the number of members are up why the cut back on the convention? Also, Karen Lewis and her local are the talk of the convention and I again was told that many of the UFT folks at the convention are speaking with the Red Shirted CTU members and wishing that their local would fight the way they are. Is this an accurate description? I heard Dave Bing was well received!

  3. Don't believe a word she says.

  4. As my friend said in the Answer Sheet, Randi is a wolf in sheep's clothing. Beware!

  5. "Watch what she does; not what she says." Norm Scott on numerous occasions

    I tried to read the speech but fell asleep.

  6. Norm,
    Just took a quick trip across the web, and many of the comments are not supportive of her speech.

    Teacher housing??? Why?? Better salaries so teachers can find a good place to live makes better sense to me. Just because I have to work with them, I wouldn't want to live with them.

    When she mentioned Broad, she failed to mention she sits on that board.

    Personally, I do not like the word militant. As an educator I am looking for an advocate. Lewis was an advocate.


Comments are welcome. Irrelevant and abusive comments will be deleted, as will all commercial links. Comment moderation is on, so if your comment does not appear it is because I have not been at my computer (I do not do cell phone moderating). Or because your comment is irrelevant or idiotic.