La Cosa AFTstra
Columnist Mark Patinkin has been focusing on the teacher dispute in Central Falls for weeks, now, but an essay on teachers who (quietly) disagree with the union’s activities brings to the fore a central reason that many of us have a constitutional aversion to unions:
“As a C.F. High School teacher I agree with you,” the e-mail said. “The Union blew it. The only mistake you made was writing that we voted it down. This is untrue because we were never given the chance to vote. The Union leadership made the decision for us and many of us are not happy.”
Why not express that unhappiness?
“Many fear Union retribution,” the letter said. …
“You have to understand,” one wrote, “not only would I be going up against my own teacher’s union, I would leave myself open to abuse from every teacher’s union in the country and perhaps beyond.”
No doubt, some union organizer or other has pointed to Patinkin’s column, and will point to this very post, as evidence that breaking ranks and speaking out will only open the union to political attack. One can hardly dispute that “solidarity” is part of what empowers unions to accomplish what they do. That doesn’t, of course, mean that members or society at large should want them to accomplish those ends. Indeed, the insidious problem of silence is that it allows union reps to pick their own objectives and limit all internal objections to a controlled, intimidating environment.