Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The union label

Nowhere on the "About OEA" page of the Oklahoma Education Association website will you find the word "labor" or the word "union." Which is interesting, because Mike Antonucci reports that in his keynote speech to this year's NEA Representative Assembly, NEA president Dennis Van Roekel used the words "union" or "labor" 14 times.
"Our efforts were built on the successes of unions in the private sector," he said. "The union movement created the middle class, ended child labor, championed public education, and gave working men and women a strong voice. Plain and simple, you can't have a middle class without unions! We need unions."

Indeed, Antonucci reports, "this year NEA finally embraced the labor union label it has downplayed for 25 years. Delegate after delegate touted unionism and identified themselves proudly as part of the broader labor movement. [Retiring NEA general counsel Bob] Chanin told the crowd that while professional issues were important, 'NEA and its affiliates should never lose sight of the fact that they are unions.'"

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