Top political operatives inside organized labor – already reeling from long-term declines in membership – do not want to lose even more juice by backing the quixotic bid of a self-described democratic socialist from Vermont. But others lower in the ranks, and those who have worked closely with Sanders over his 25 years in Congress, are more concerned about ideological purity than anything else.There’s always been a more radical constituency within unions who "are more concerned about ideological purity." What’s different now is that that constituency is growing in strength just as the traditional unionists’ power weakens.
The Badass Teachers Association (BAT) took matters into their own hands by conducting a poll on Face Book. So far 1240 teachers endorsed Bernie Sanders and only 84 endorsed Clinton. One teacher said "Weingarten has this thing about giving false information via polls... It's scary."And,
Activist teacher members and others lamented that the AFT endorsement of Clinton was a clear reminder of President Randi Weingarten's autocratic leadership style that treats teachers like passive herd-driven professionals rather than independent thinkers with a voice.There's other signs of internecine dissent within bargaining units between those who promote pragmatism and those who yearn for "ideological purity." For example, the traditional leadership of Newark Teachers Union has been undermined by the growing strength of the more radical Newark Education Workers (NEW) Caucus, which took over the Executive Board last year (although it lost the contest for union president. See here for details.)
“As a dues-paying union member, I was not afforded the opportunity to have representation all throughout this matter. What I have tried to do is preserve the rights and due process of all members of Orange County Classroom Teachers Association. I’m shocked that the national union does not honor a paying union member’s rights to due process. Our members in Orange County are quite happy with their union. NEA has remained silent despite reaching out for support. This is all about members and money. They’re losing members and money in the national organization. It’s politics at its worst.”Last Saturday at a BAT "Congress," members heard a keynote that included this doggerel:
For nearly eight years Mr. Duncan, the balls been in your court.Judging by recent events, BAT's would just as soon tell Randi Weingarten "bye bye" as well. This lack of support represents as big a challenge to union governance as Abood and Friedrichs.
But it is obvious to all, leadership wasn’t your sport.
Your reign is now ending in thunderous despair.
You hear a crack from the heavens and you wonder “Whose there?” You reach for your binder and swing: 'swat swat'
It’s a shame you didn’t play baseball, or you would know all about BATs.
BATs fly by radar; we see with mind, how you have left our children and schools in a bind.
When down in a block we descend from the sky, to show you the door and tell you “Bye Bye!”
Labels: AFT, BAT, NEA