Tag Archives: Union Busting

PET’s Anti-Union Pro-Privatization Politics

For years, the Professional Educators of Tennessee have repeatedly asserted that they are not a “political organization,” while employing several lobbyists. Currently, three of PET’s staff members are listed by the state as registered lobbyists:

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In fact, PET has employed lobbyists for years:

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Contrary to what PET claims, the organization is extremely political. But what are their politics?

Well, to figure that out, we need only look to their record.

Now, PET is actively working with pro-voucher groups to lobby for a law that would repeat the right of teachers to voluntarily choose for union dues to be automatically withdrawn from their paychecks.

Kyle Mallory, a PET leader who was named 2015 Advocate of the Year by the organization and has represented PET in events organized as part of a campaign by pro-voucher consultant Steve Gill to demonize Tennessee’s public schools, has recently written an editorial promoting the legislation:

Recently, the Tennessee Legislature took up the Fair Access to Collection of Teacher Support Act (SB 151 / HB 294), a piece of legislation that has been amended to take the school district out of collecting dues through payroll deductions for unions who use them for political activities. . . I support the FACTS Act (HB 294 / SB 151) as amended, and hope others will as well.

Not only has PET published editorials in support of this legislation, PET’s executive director JC Bowman has publicly lobbied in favor of it during the legislative session.

Given PET’s history (especially the pro-voucher and pro-charter history of JC Bowman), it should come as little surprise that PET is actively lobbying to undermine the strength of the teachers union, which is the most powerful obstacle standing in the way of the corporate takeover of public education. And yet, there are many teachers across the state who have not heard how PET uses the dues money of their members to lobby for legislation that strips teachers of their rights. Please help spread the word.

Privatization Through Union Busting

In October of 1999, the Lexington Institute, a “free market think tank” and active member of the nefarious Koch-financed State Policy Network, hosted a national conference entitled “The Teacher Unions: How School Choice is Breaking Their Monopoly.”

According to the conference agenda, three of the major themes were:

  1. Expanding voucher, tax-credit and charter school programs as well as the teacher unions’ actions to prevent such programs;
  2. The brisk growth of independent teacher associations, which now have more members than the NEA or AFT in three states;
  3. Education outsourcing and privatization issues, recent unprecedented concessions by teacher unions in contract agreements, curbing the political abuse of compulsory dues and other related topics.

Here we see a perfect example of the collusion between the “free market think tanks” that belong to the State Policy Network and are part of a national strategy for advocating for the privatization of public schools and the growth of “independent education associations” (I prefer the term “yellow unions”) that claim to represent teachers, but are actually front groups created for the intentional purpose of undermining the largest and most politically organized opposition to the corporate reformers and their privatization agenda: teacher unions.

These “free market think tanks” and the yellow unions work hand in glove, one advocates for the privatization agenda while the other weakens the agenda’s main opponents.

Guess who is listed at the very top of the conference’s list of speakers?

None other than the current executive director of the Professional Educators of Tennessee: J.C. Bowman.

How about that.

 

Download the agenda here: capital-hill-teacher-union or see below.

Download the PDF file .