To the Editor:
Heads up: “0.018 percent” is not a typo. It’s the actual proportion of the membership of the United Federation of Teachers that refused to pay union dues in the aftermath of the US Supreme Court’s ruling in the Janus case last year.
Were they disgruntled, seduced by the goading and beguilement of union-busting propagandists or were they just cheap? At least they can take comfort in the fact that their numbers exceed that of World War I veterans alive today, although the disparity is statistically insignificant.
The union is mightily popular with its membership. Is that something to crow about? Damn right it is.
The members’ loyalty is not coerced, but is earned by the union’s performance. Simple as that.
The union is true to its word and its purpose. And it is a mission that does not clash but rather interlocks with the best interests of all children.
The union-busting partisans masked themselves as representatives of freedom of choice and equity, and were both slick and crude in the false advertising of their invalid ideas. They tried every dirty trick in the playbook to turn members against each other and their profession.
They saw the Janus case as a weapon of total decimation of public unions, especially those of Teachers. They were optimistic that the new Supreme Court, with newly-minted Justice Neil Gorsuch, would provide them the legal firepower.
Even before the high court’s decision, they were doing victory laps and getting their jollies from the anticipated bankruptcy and impotency of the unions. It was a crescendo of incredibly mean-spirited jubilation. But all their instigation and disinformation backfired, especially in New York City.
The Janus case did not put the union on life-support, and there never was a plug to pull.
The ruthless,unflagging energies of the goon “philanthropists,” who purported to be boosters of liberty in the workplace, and all their front organizations favoring privatization and “right to work,” together with their bloggers and shills in elective office and industry, were beaten back.
As it became evident that the loyalty of the union members was, if anything, rejuvenated by the Janus case, the “right-to-work” union-loathers had to cancel their pity parties and sarcastic eulogies planned for the union’s assumed demise.
One year after the Janus decision, the UFT is in peak and robust condition. Never in its multi-generational history has there been so tiny a percentage of non-dues-payers as today. That’s beyond the “best-case scenario” that anyone dared to dream last year.
Some people believe one should not celebrate openly for fear of jinxing the cause. But that couldn’t happen, because the victory has such a solid foundation and is being strengthened every day in countless situations involving the union’s members.
The UFT communicates effectively with its members and does its job wholly to the letter and in spirit. Every last member recognizes that they have profited from it.
In connection with the Janus case, it’s been said that “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” The UFT is very much alive and kicking hard wherever and whenever it needs to.
Now that’s muscle!
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