A few recent stories have shown how unions often value partisan political activities over fair representation of their members.
The first story is a case of union-on-union crime: in the wake of the chaos in Ferguson, Missouri, the New York Federation of Teachers under Michael Mulgrew has joined Al Sharpton’s protest against police brutality, which elicited this response from Pat Lynch, the president of a New York police union: “How would he like it if police officers lined up with the activists who oppose his efforts to shield bad teachers and undermine effective charter schools?”
So the truth comes out! This union fight is too funny because the increasingly partisan activities of unions are backfiring in their faces. There must be at least a few members of the UFT who are hesitant about marching with the controversial Al Sharpton but they will watch helplessly as their dues money goes to paying for the march regardless of their marginalized beliefs.
That is most likely of little concern to Mulgrew, who recently threatened opponents of Common Core with violence, but this harsh criticism from another union boss might cause him to think twice, since it vindicates major arguments against the teachers’ union. Maybe in the future Mulgrew and other union bosses will think twice before they throw their members, dissenters and all, headlong into the midst of a controversial political fray.
The second story is that the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) members refused to go to work and cross a picket line meant to prevent an Israeli ship from unloading at an Oakland port. The ILWU asserts its neutrality on the blockade, but individual members have spoken out, such as ILWU international labor activist Clarence Thomas who said, “I expect the rank and file to respect the picket line as we have done of picket lines since the 1930s.”
Union members who are tired of their unions running blindly into political debates without carefully considering all of their members’ political views should consider joining a professional association like the Association of American Educators, which cares more about taking care of their members than recruiting them for far-left political activities.
Correction: An earlier version of this story cited ILWU, rather than individual members of ILWU, as opposing Israeli policies. We apologize for the error.