Being able to define our options is no different than using our fact-finding report as the basis of negotiation. Last night our president tried desperately to “control” the reaction to this report by employing some very obvious and disrespectful tactics to our Chapter Leaders.
Right down to props on the stage Randi tried to give the appearance we were having a chat with about 800 of our schools’ leaders. How do we, as a Union, react to a fact-finding report which not only is replete with givebacks but fundamentally disrupts the power dynamic in our schools by giving over “discretion” to the principals in some very basic labor relations areas? (No one has even mentioned the provisions in the report about performance based pay and salary differentials based on school taught).
Rather than deal with this anti-union report our leadership has embraced it and will no doubt try to sell it to our members by promising to “tweak it.”
But how do you convince 800 Chapter Leaders to sell it to their members? The way that was chosen was to define the “options” available and label all of the opposition as only demanding to wait.
What are the options? According to Randi the options are take this report as the contract or “reject” it and go out on strike…immediately. It’s like asking the condemned which method he wishes to be executed.
The second method to sell this is to dominate the discussion. Randi tried to control the comments of the Chapter Leaders. No doubt there were brain-storming sessions well into the night to prepare. Yet, try as she might each speaker, which was allowed to speak, spoke about how this report cannot be accepted in any form. As a result attempts to recognize paid union staff to deflect these comments were obvious tactics that showed how desperate the situation is. Additionally, though it was supposed to be a “discussion” Randi made sure she commented on every comment and filibustered most of the evening.
Obviously planning for effective action is something that must be done over a period of time. While we have lost a lot of time we have not lost our will to have our Union act like a union. We cannot let the discussion be framed by those who have vested interests in maintaining their positions.
Randi, if you don’t lead us to prevent the wholesale surrender of our rights we will lead you. Our members will clearly not put up with this report as the basis of anything other than a post-mortem of our union.