The American Federation of Teachers is a little bit clingy. Who can blame them, I suppose, when they are losing left and right? When local affiliates decide to disentangle themselves from the AFT in favor of more local control, the AFT has a very hard time letting go. This is currently the case in Dearborn, Michigan, as the Dearborn Federation of School Employees has decided to strike out on their own. The AFT is not letting them go without a fight.
A lawsuit filed by the AFT, which has 1.5 million members around the country, alleges that the DFSE tried to disaffiliate without following bylaws. It also says that undue pressure was used by the DFSE sway members against the AFT. It sounds like the AFT is using similar tactics to ensure that the 9,000 members of the DFSE (and their dues) did not go anywhere. This is not the first time the AFT has tried such tactics. They unsuccessfully battled a disaffiliation in Puerto Rico back in 2005, and lost 32,000 members in the process. It looks like they will do whatever they can to keep a grip on their membership- and hands in their members’ pockets.
Local president Sharon Korhonen said that the DFSE simply cannot afford to be part of the AFT “They want to destroy our independence. On Monday… four AFT reps came in our office like gangsters, unannounced. … They wanted all our files, keys, passwords. We told them no. They refused to leave the office,” Korhonen said in an open letter.
The AFT is certainly having their share of troubles this summer. With Common Core, which they support, losing steam in states around the country, can they really afford another loss? They are holding on for dear life, and not getting very far. One has to wonder, with so much energy being spent on these fights- is the union spending any time thinking about the children?