AFT president proposes "solution-driven unionism"
In a wide-ranging speech, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said she deplored attacks on unions, while also acknowledging that the overall decline in union membership demands a new approach to her affiliates' work.
"As we have seen, fighting in traditional ways alone isn't always enough. Getting 1 million signatures to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker without winning 5 million hearts and minds, I'm sad to say, wasn't enough," Weingarten said. "More than ever, we need to act in innovative, creative, and new ways—simultaneously refuting our critics, advancing our values, connecting with community, and proposing solutions."
To an extent, this idea of "solution-driven unionism" appears to be a further gloss on the idea oflabor-management collaboration. Weingarten pointed to the New Haven, Conn. affiliate's new contract and teacher evaluation system, and the ABC school district's partnership in California—examples she has discussed in other forums.