Green Room

Teacher union troops topple another local affiliate

posted at 1:26 pm on July 31, 2013 by

Let’s face it, the National Education Association is a bunch of amateurs when it comes to dropping the hammer on an uppity affiliate. The national office of the American Federation of Teachers simply won’t tolerate any talk of local affiliates abandoning the reservation and making their own way.

AFT has a long tradition of staging a coup de  main in locals that disaffiliated, or even tried to disaffiliate. The union failed to crush an uprising in Puerto Rico, but it still employed the same tactics against the Colorado Federation of Public Employees and the Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals. In the latter case, the U.S. Department of Labor declared AFT’s actions unlawful. And moot.

The latest target of AFT’s wrath is the Dearborn Federation of School Employees (DFSE), a 900-member education support employee local in Michigan. AFT claims in a civil suit against DFSE that the union president conducted a disaffiliation vote in April without following the by-laws. According to the Detroit News, AFT “held an evidentiary hearing June 14 and placed the local under temporary trusteeship.”

“The incumbent officers aren’t prepared to comply with AFT orders. … They want to hang on as long as they can,” said AFT attorney Bruce Miller. “We want them to relinquish their office, AFT will take over the local and restore democratic practices and pull together the warring factions. All of the votes were against getting out of the AFT.”

As you might imagine, those incumbent officers have a different tale to tell. In an open letter to members, DFSE president Sharon Korhonen and five other union officers describe an out-of-control national affiliate:

No one is taking this union over. Do not listen to lies. These AFT people showed up at 1107 Washington , the DFSE office on Monday, July 22 at 9:00 a.m. demanding the keys, files, passwords, home addresses, and everything else!!!!! They were asked to leave and refused. The Dearborn Police were called and they asked them to leave. The AFT told the police they were not leaving. The police escorted the AFT reps to the sidewalk and told them not to come back without a Court Order. Before AFT left, they unplugged our computers.

…If AFT’s sole interest is to ensure the well being of the DFSE members, they have an odd way of doing it. On the accusations of three members, AFT has attempted to take over the office, send the office help home, disconnect the computers and take over your union dues. They have limited the actions of our lawyer and frozen our money, making it impossible to pay utilities, rent and HFCC scholarships, among other obligations.

Membership involvement does “continue to be a hallmark of a strong union,” and that is why we are relying on your active participation to create a stronger DFSE. Let’s take off the gloves and get in this fight. AFT’s actions by their statement, has been instigated by three disgruntled members. Didn’t think in this country you could seize control and force a new election when three members are unhappy with the outcome of the last election. Dictators gain power when people don’t think and don’t seek the truth.

It looks like this will be hashed out in county court. I suggest that local affiliates with a notion about leaving AFT plan accordingly.

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You can check out any time you like
But you can never leave

/AFT

Bitter Clinger on July 31, 2013 at 2:28 PM

NEA is one agency that definitely not needed.

RdLake on July 31, 2013 at 2:37 PM

NEA is one agency that definitely not needed.

RdLake on July 31, 2013 at 2:37 PM

.
Agency? It’s a union, not a government agency… isn’t it that way on your planet?

ExpressoBold on July 31, 2013 at 2:48 PM

These days, that line has blurred, just a bit, so ‘agency’ may not be all that far off the mark. Especially, since the NRLB seems more like a meeting place for union hacks that anything else.

Venril on July 31, 2013 at 4:11 PM

Nice little union you have there, too bad if something happened to it.

Another Drew on July 31, 2013 at 4:23 PM

But it’s for the children! And the middle class.

RoadRunner on July 31, 2013 at 4:34 PM

Scott Walker 2016

I’d like to see WI used as a template for dealing with public sector unions…especially AFT.

CitizenEgg on July 31, 2013 at 4:50 PM

Nice little union you have there, too bad if something happened to it.

Another Drew on July 31, 2013 at 4:23 PM

Beautiful.

Mimzey on July 31, 2013 at 6:50 PM

Afraid I have zero sympathy for a local teachers union. Perhaps growing up in Jersey prompts my cynicism, but I’m betting the DFSE has engaged in it’s own brand of intimidation in the past. I say goose, meet gander.

Lost in Jersey on July 31, 2013 at 7:37 PM

The undivulged curiosity: you’ve perhaps heard this place refered to as Dearbornistan ?

/.

CaveatEmpty on July 31, 2013 at 10:21 PM

It never ceases to amaze me how poorly written a letter from a teacher can be.

How many exclamation points in a row are needed to establish emphasis or surprise?

rogersnowden on August 1, 2013 at 9:05 AM

“County Court” is in Wayne County. Uh, that’s the same county as Detroit. Good luck with that.

geek49203 on August 1, 2013 at 9:33 AM

Agency? It’s a union, not a government agency… isn’t it that way on your planet?

ExpressoBold on July 31, 2013 at 2:48 PM

The National Endowment for the Arts? Certainly it’s an agency…

/painintheass

JohnGalt23 on August 1, 2013 at 10:54 AM

I like the fact they’re spending money on infighting.

ButterflyDragon on August 1, 2013 at 12:15 PM

Sympathy meter pegged at zero.

greggriffith on August 1, 2013 at 1:18 PM

Didn’t think in this country you could seize control and force a new election when three members are unhappy with the outcome of the last election.

Is it irrational to hope that these folks will become overnight fans of some “common-sense” voter ID laws now?

TexasDan on August 1, 2013 at 5:44 PM

I suspect that in this instance NEA stands for National Education Association.

LibraryGryffon on August 1, 2013 at 6:23 PM

Which is a labor union, according to their own website.

(sorry for the split post.)

LibraryGryffon on August 1, 2013 at 6:25 PM

It never ceases to amaze me how poorly written a letter from a teacher can be.

How many exclamation points in a row are needed to establish emphasis or surprise?

rogersnowden on August 1, 2013 at 9:05 AM

For one thing, it wasn’t written by a teacher-it’s a school support local.

The other thing is that whoever wrote it was obviously pi$$ed, sow what?

Dr. ZhivBlago on August 2, 2013 at 12:56 AM

so what…edit function please, HA?

Dr. ZhivBlago on August 2, 2013 at 12:57 AM

Union vs. Union — pass the popcorn!

KS Rex on August 2, 2013 at 9:23 AM

“The incumbent officers aren’t prepared to comply with AFT orders. … They want to hang on as long as they can,” said AFT attorney Bruce Miller. “We want them to relinquish their office, AFT will take over the local and restore democratic practices and pull together the warring factions. All of the votes were against getting out of the AFT.”

I would love to see the ethnic breakdown of the Dearbornistan “AFT Officers”. I wonder … Just whom is pulling the strings?
I bet it’s an Imam who wants his boys to be separated from the “nasty little harlots in Christian garb”.
You would think that BIG Labor would be sensitive to:

“Cast OFF those chains of oppression!”
- Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto

~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on August 4, 2013 at 11:46 AM

I like the fact they’re spending money on infighting.

ButterflyDragon on August 1, 2013 at 12:15 PM

Goes for a lot of groups these days.

AesopFan on August 5, 2013 at 12:13 AM