Why does a teacher like me support my union?
I will answer, at greater length, as the sun rises. But for now:
1. I answer with injured pride. And offense. My answer is the same, if you think I am a good teacher, a bad teacher, or a decent, reasonable teacher. What do you mean, a teacher like me? And let me add this – when you, other teachers, hear that question, you should take offense, too.
2. Do you want me to convince someone to support the union? Or are you just asking why I support it? Because if you are just asking why, it is easy. Supporting your union is the right thing to do. Period. I don’t really think about it. Ever. I never debated whether or not I should support my union. I was raised that way.
3. My union has a lot of problems. The leadership screws up in big and little ways. But it is my damned union, and don’t think for half a moment that it gets anything less than my full support. I want to improve what could be made better and fix what’s broken. And if somehow you get the idea that it gets less than my fullest support, you are not reading. It is my union.
4. We are at war. With people more powerful than us. Richer. They own politicians, and buy more. They buy elections. They’ve written laws, and rewritten laws. They own most of the media, and influence the parts they don’t own directly. And they are after our hides. And what do we have? Ourselves. Ourselves united through our union. Are we a finely tuned machine? Even if we were, this would be an awful fight. And there we have it: we are in a treacherous fight, organized through a union that’s not in good fighting shape.
How could we do anything BUT support our union? Odds are against us. We are trying to weather this storm (wish us luck). Is there any choice?
Try this analogy: Can you imagine anything more foolish than fighting a lion with a folding chair? (answer, yes, throwing away the folding chair)