How Are Union Members Like Mushrooms?
National Education Association of Rhode Island President Larry Purtill has sent a message to members of his union:
Despite these results, I knew that those who disagree with our vision and mission would not stop their attacks. What I did not suspect was the ferocity that those attacks might take. On the air, outrageous comments have been made about staff and our organization and certain talk shows have fueled the fire with over-the-top remarks. The facts are these: UniServ Director John Leidecker has been charged with a misdemeanor relating to emails. The specifics of the charge are still unclear, and he will be obtaining his own legal counsel to represent him in this matter. No other employee or leader of the organization was involved in the alleged activity, and John is continuing to work while waiting for resolution of this issue.
Those who wish to know just how unclear the charges against Liedecker are can get exact quotations from some of the evidence on WPRI.com (see here and here.
A positive outcome from this controversy would be an increase in the number of teachers who come to see Liedecker’s behavior not as some aberration, but as a perfect fit for the pattern of practices in which their union’s leaders engage. Liedecker, along with his associate, Pat Crowley and others, is a familiar face at every hostile union event. He was even one of two NEA agitators to attend a speech by Providence Journal editor/columnist Ed Achorn at the Barrington library a while back; curiously, he left shortly after I began liveblogging
This — not some antipathy toward teachers or their profession — is why many of us take such a sour view of education unions.