As educators, we don’t take lightly assigning an ‘F’ to someone’s work. David Holman’s recent letter published in CT Examiner made that decision an easy call thanks to its many false and misleading claims and assertions.
We would normally grade such a piece on a curve, considering the fact that the author is not an educator. His lack of firsthand experience as a member of a union made up of colleagues sharing the same employer and facing similar workplace challenges might also warrant a sliding scale.
Perhaps that’s why his characterization of how collective bargaining agreements protect working people are so wildly off the mark. As a “salesman” one would expect him to know better than to try to fool readers into thinking it’s sustainable to reap benefits without investing the resources to maintain them.
Taking advantage of union-negotiated pay raises, healthcare coverage and a voice in workplace conditions without contributing a fair share of the cost means they’ll soon disappear. That’s essentially what began happening over fifty years ago in the private sector as membership density fell and dragged down all working peoples’ wages and benefits.
That decline has largely spared public service, where employment opportunities with the “union difference” are still available in many states. We are proud that our labor organizations continue to help close both the gender and racial pay gaps and promise families a shot at the American Dream.
That fact leads us to conclude that the author is really just doing the bidding of shadowy, dark money-funded front groups with an agenda opposed to working peoples’ interests. He has been a vocal spokesperson for a local outfit tied to “Parents Defending Education,” a front group associated with the anti-public education Koch Network.
Such deceptive intent alone would demand an ‘F’ grade. For the author to contribute to the escalating “culture war” on our profession after teachers’ selfless work educating children in a global pandemic is shameful.
The good news is that union members are much smarter than the author and his extremist backers wrongly believe. Since the Supreme Court’s 2018 decision he lauded, our state federation’s certified educators membership has dropped less than one percent – much of it due to natural attrition.
Across the country, teachers are continuing to choose “Union YES” for a better future for themselves, their students and their school communities. They understand that together we can accomplish far more than any one of us are able to on our own – especially when it comes to educating future generations.
President, AFT Connecticut
AFT Connecticut represents more than 7,500 teachers, counselors, social workers, and other certified education professionals in 20 state, regional, and local school districts.