Bargaining for Socialism
“Bargaining for the common good” is really an attempt by teacher union elites to turn America socialist.
In June, 2016, unions across the country were expanding their focus to the broader community, an effort which they call “bargaining for the common good.” The new strategy originated when public employee union leaders and community organizations gathered in Washington, D.C. in 2014 and came up with a 3-point plan: “use the bargaining process as a way to challenge the relationships between government and the private-sector; work with community allies to create new, shared goals that help advance both worker and citizen power; and recognize militancy and collective action will likely be necessary if workers and citizens are to reduce inequality and strengthen democracy.”
But whatever the unions call it, it reeks of socialism.
Joseph McCartin writing in People’s World Daily, a Marxist online news publication, explains that bargaining for the common good is necessary because “financialization, privatization, increasing inequality, and, most recently, judicial attacks on unions’ ability to collect fees from the workers they represent, which culminated in the Supreme Court’s 2018 Janus v. AFSCME decision, have undermined traditional bargaining. Bargaining for the Common Good responds to these changes by recasting unions as defenders not only of their members but the community’s very well being.”
Most recently, Chicago Teacher Union boss Jesse Sharkey, a leading member of the revolutionary International Socialist Organization until its dissolution earlier this year, led a just-settled 11-day strike in the Windy City, which encompassed bargaining for the common good. The union’s laundry list of strike issues included the usual ones – higher teacher pay and better working conditions – along with more radical demands like sanctuary school protections for “undocumented” immigrants and affordable teacher housing. (The former made it into the final contract, but not the latter.)
In California, United Teachers of Los Angeles leader Alex Caputo-Pearl has been described by Socialistworker.org as a “veteran union militant and community organizer” who believes strongly in “social movement unionism,” which is just another name for bargaining for the common good. Caputo-Pearl says that the movement is “explicit about fighting for racial and social justice. It’s explicit in fighting against privatization. It’s explicit in taking people on who need to be taken on, including a lot of Democrats.”
Most recently, Caputo-Pearl orchestrated a successful push to have UTLA endorse Bernie Sanders for POTUS in 2020. In anointing the socialist from Vermont, Caputo-Pearl cooed, “Sanders is the first viable major candidate in 25 years in the Democratic Party to stand up against privatization…and to stand up for a massive redistribution of wealth to schools and social services.”
Jacobin, “a democratic socialist quarterly magazine,” recently held an interview with UTLA treasurer Arlene Inouye, who blathered on about the need for “a massive redistribution of funds to schools and social services.” She added that the UTLA leadership is “thrilled Bernie put himself forward to fight for all of us. His comprehensive agenda includes critical issues like stopping climate change, canceling student debt, passing Medicare for All, and stopping the criminalization of immigrants.”
Also in the Golden State, California Federation of Teachers president Jeff Freitas recently penned, “Union work is social justice work,” which encompasses bargaining for the common good. He stresses that his union “advocates for issues that reach far beyond the classroom,” including “racial justice, gender equality, LGBTQ rights, and climate justice.”
As veteran teacher union watchdog Mike Antonucci writes, bargaining for the common good is neither common nor good. He goes on to criticize fawning media coverage for the new style unionism, and at the end of his piece asks a poignant question: “if the union is bargaining for the common good, what is the other side of the table bargaining for?”
The union elites, you see, have set themselves up as the avatars of righteousness – selfless do-gooders who are taking a stand for the common good. In reality, all too often union leaders are nothing more than socialists. Period. Their goal is to radically redistribute wealth, destroy the private sector and expand the size of government to Soviet-size proportions. And the appropriately named #RedforED leaders are angling to be the Politburo.
It remains to be seen how many teachers will continue to pay dues money to organizations that are hellbent on destroying the country as we have known it for almost 250 years.
* * *
Larry Sand, a former classroom teacher, is the president of the non-profit California Teachers Empowerment Network – a non-partisan, non-political group dedicated to providing teachers and the general public with reliable and balanced information about professional affiliations and positions on educational issues. The views presented here are strictly his own.