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A Pasted Post From Naked Capitalism Explains Why Teachers Wonder Where their Dues Go

August 7, 2020

“Viewpoint: Pro-Labor Candidates Are Upending New York Politics—But Where Are the Unions?” [Labor Notes]. An ugly picture:

At a candidate forum in Central Brooklyn for a New York state senate race, the moderator asked a simple yes or no question: “Do you support charter schools?”

It was no surprise that public school teacher, union member, and democratic socialist Jabari Brisport answered with a terse “nope”—unions rightly see charters as an effort to privatize and deunionize the teaching profession.

It’s also sadly not much of a surprise that his opponent, sitting Democratic Assemblywoman Tremaine Wright, answered with a “yes.” Charter schools are backed by deep-pocketed corporate interests, many of them major donors to the Democratic establishment. During the primary campaign, Wright received $7,500 from Democrats for Education Reform, a pro-charter group funded by the likes of Walmart heiress Alice Walton and hedge fund titan Dan Loeb.

The real surprise is that the statewide teachers union (NYSUT), which is largely controlled by its New York City local, the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), decided to endorse Assemblywoman Wright, the candidate who explicitly opposes the union’s own legislative agenda, over one of its own members.

Brisport still won the Democratic primary for the 25th senate district convincingly—without his union’s support—even defeating Assemblywoman Wright in her own assembly district. And he’s hardly the only example of a pro-labor candidate winning without official labor support.

And union veterans wonder why younger members balk at paying union dues?

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