Don’t believe the lies about teacher unions being selfish. Hundreds of UFT members have donated their time, energy and expertise around the clock for weeks to help victims of Sandy’s devastation. It’s a large operation with big logistical challenges and it is being coordinated with the efficiency of a carefully planned military operation. They’re doing manual labor in hazmat suits, ripping up floorboards and ruined insulation and removing debris. They’re delivering desperately needed supplies to housebound victims. They helped manage evacuation centers and staffed shelters. Recently they stuffed 30,000 backpacks for students who had lost everything. These initiatives culminated in a many-fronted Day of Action.
The teachers’ union has no reason to apologize for pursuing the best deal for their members through collective bargaining. Most people and some newspaper editors know that. But what deserves to be known as well is that the union is defined by its social and humanitarian efforts also, and these achievements deserve equally to be common knowledge.