Summer is upon us, and parents, children and teachers are winding down from what has been an exhausting and fully operational school year—the first since the devastating pandemic. The long-lasting impact of COVID-19 has affected our students’ and families’ well-being and ignited the politics surrounding public schools. All signs point to the coming school year unfolding with the same sound and fury, and if extremist culture warriors have their way, being even more divisive and stressful.
In AFT President Randi Weingarten’s latest New York Times column, she describes what it is exactly that unions do. Though unions are the most popular they have been in decades, anti-union sentiment still thrives in red states and across the nation. “Several years ago, The Atlantic ran a story whose headline made even me, a labor leader, scratch my head: ‘Union Membership: Very Sexy,’” Weingarten writes in the column. “The gist was that higher wages, health benefits and job security—all associated with union membership—boost one’s chances of getting married. Belonging to a union doesn’t actually guarantee happily ever after, but it does help working people have a better life in the here and now.” Click through to read the full column.
Attacks on public education in America by extremists and culture-war peddling politicians have reached new heights (“lows” may be more apt), but they are not new. The difference today is that the attacks are intended not just to undermine public education but to destroy it.
The U.S. Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision in Janus v. AFSCME on June 26, 2018, saying it is unconstitutional to collect fees from public employees who choose not to be a member of the union that negotiates the contract that provides their wages, benefits and other working conditions.
This decision, which was split along political lines within the Court, is one that harms working people and their families, turning its back on the long and important history of the labor movement. The Court’s opinion was expected following recent cases pressed in Wisconsin and elsewhere by those who want to
Many of the news reports about the Janus v. AFSCME case tout the loss of Union Dues as the demise of organized labor specifically in the public sector. When Union Members act collectively in solidarity they represent a powerful group that significantly impacts the negotiation of fair sal aries, working conditions, health care and pensions. Recently, the public-school teachers in West Virginia joined in an action protesting how higher health care costs and the lack of raises for the past few years had eroded their ability to be engaged in the American Dream. After nine days, the legislature