Union Matters

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Here’s Mike Antonucci at the Education Intelligence Agency on the national teacher union NEA’s battle against threats to collective bargaining and other lesser offensives like tenure reform:

“We are at war,” incoming NEA executive director John Stocks told the union’s board of directors last month, outlining a plan to keep NEA from joining the private sector industrial unions in a slow, steady decline into irrelevancy to anyone outside the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee. And like any good war plan for an army under siege, it allows for a defense-in-depth while preparing for a decisive counterattack.

Back in New Jersey, NEA affiliate-NJEA member dues to the national organization will double this year to pay for the assault. (Not so bad — $20 from $10, but it will give the NEA an additional $40 million per election cycle.)

On other union battles, check out John Mooney’s piece today at NJ Spotlight as he examines the reasons behind Newark Teachers Union President Joseph Del Grosso’s increasingly inflammatory rhetoric. The NTU is part of the American Federation for Teachers, the “other teachers’ union,” which is led by the effective and progressive Randi Weingarten, who fearlessly takes on critics and is open to discussion on controversial issues like tenure reform and charter school expansion.

NTU has also been more moderate than NJEA – all affiliates (okay, all five of them) signed on to NJ’s application for Race To The Top, for example, while managing to outwit Newark administrators at the bargaining table. (Here’s a recent contract.) But now De Grosso is facing a challenge for the presidency from Jose Velazquez, who charges that De Grosso is too compliant and that the recent oratory is “too little, too late.”

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