In todays WA PO story: "Fenty, Rhee Look for Ways Around The Union" (By Bill Turque, page C01) states that the Mayor and Chancellor are considering restoring the District's power to create nonunionized charter schools and possibly seeking federal legislation declaring the school system a "state of emergency" , a move that (the Post) reports would eliminate the need to bargain with the Washington Teachers' Union. Could their strategy be union busting ? Before you answer, here are some of the tactics of typical union busters. Sound vaguely familiar to what's happening in DC? You tell me?
Tactics of Union Busters:
INCREASES IN PAY: They tell you that you don't need the union to get wage increases.
LET'S BE PALS: They set up meetings with union members citing : don't let the union get in the way of our wonderful relationship.
ONE-ON-ONES: Management may call you in for face-to-face talks about the union.
DIVIDE AND CONQUER: They will try to play one group against the other: "Disloyal" union supporters against "loyal pro-employer" union opponents; older vs. younger, men vs. women, one department against another - whatever works for them.
VOTE-YES COMMITTEE: A small group of employees might be set up to "stand up" for the employer. They want to "save" the organization from the Union. The Union Buster is behind this committee and is training the leaders to destroy the union.
SCARE TACTICS: They threaten to fire you, outsource jobs, make jobs at will . They blame employees for all the agency's shortcomings.
Bad Press About the Union: They paint an ugly picture of the union in the press.
Sam Smith of DC City Desk tells yet another heartfelt union busting story of a former DC teacher Harold Cox who was fired at the beginning of school year 2008. I think this story is worth posting for all to read. This story provides a glimpse into Fenty and Rhee's tactics which robs our students of many qualified DC teachers who happen to be union members . Like Cox, DC blind teachers - Denise Hamilton and Fred Kamara ( as reported on The Washington Teacher) also lost their teaching jobs this school year. Lost count already of how many certified DC teachers were terminated from their jobs - I know I have ! Here is Sam Smith's story in its entirety:
"Former DC teacher Harold Cox is the definition of a dedicated teacher. A twenty-one year teaching veteran, Cox worked hard inside and outside the classroom, frequently staying late after class to work with students and lobbying DC City Council to address problems in the schools. So Cox was shocked when he was fired, without any explanation, at the beginning of the school year. Like hundreds of other summarily-dismissed teachers, aides and principals, Cox was forced to reapply for his position as part of DC School Chancellor Michelle Rhee and Mayor Adrian Fenty's controversial plan to fix the ailing DC public schools.