Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Does AFT Merit a Member Boycott?

AFT reps, not a single one of whom represents me or my school, took time out to assemble at a local Staples to protest their use of private workers to replace US Post Office workers. The President of NYSUT cut her Staples card in half to show she meant business. After all, we value union, and we don't want unqualified people handling the mail.

But according to the AFT reps, none of whom represent me or my school, it's OK for unqualified people who aren't in a nurses' union to issue medical care, and so they passed a resolution saying people could get a little training and do the work of medical professionals. Perhaps the AFT reps have determined the work of medical professionals is a lot less demanding than that of delivering packages and envelopes. It's tough to say since none of them consult with me or anyone I represent about anything, ever.

But since one action so mirrors the other, it's only fair that one reaction mirror the other as well. So I guess the only logical thing to do is boycott the AFT. This begs the question--how do we do that?

After all, AFT simply takes money from our paychecks. We have no say on that. Then they hold conventions, on our dime, conventions in which we get no representation whatsoever. I'm chapter leader of the largest school in Queens, and they don't give a golly gosh darn what any of us think about anything. Otherwise, how could they fail to demand the removal of corporate clown Arne Duncan? How could they continue with the preposterous charade that the problem of Common Core is how it was rolled out?

In fact, it was rolled out exactly as it should have, and that's why 70% of our kids failed the tests. It's pretty clear to me, when Arne Duncan slanders suburban moms, that it was designed to make us think all public schools are failing. The problem, for demagogues like Duncan and Reformy John King, is that neither working teachers nor working parents accept their corporate-backed conclusions.

Now here's the thing. Maybe your school has a Unity chapter leader, a chapter leader who actually went to the convention. But if that's the case, your chapter leader has signed a loyalty oath and in fact is not permitted to represent you at all. Your chapter leader must vote as directed or be banished, a longstanding Unity tradition, dating back to when Albert Shanker expelled Unity members for opposing the Vietnam War. We all know how that turned out, and we all know how all the reformy nonsense they support now is turning out.

So, because their actions mirror those of Staples, and because no one in UFT is represented in AFT, it's time to boycott the AFT.

How the hell do we do that?

I actually don't believe union dues should be optional. But representing the largest local in the country ought not to be optional either.

What say you, AFT?
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