So which is it: Has NEA President Dennis Van Roekel (DVR to the cool kids) gone rogue to sell out union principles to evil corporate interests, or is he acting with the full knowledge and authority of NEA’s representative bodies? After all, the NEA executive committee and board of directors just met last month.
I judge members complaining about the actions of union leadership as a positive sign, regardless of the reason. It shows they’re paying attention. What I fail to understand is why it took an op-ed in USA Today and Matt Damon to clue them in on what they’re leaders are up to. Whether it’s Pat Santeramo or DVR, union presidents do not act alone. There are many people who know what’s going on, if they care to look.
Anyway, it’s pretty entertaining to read the comments beneath this Daily Kos diary on the brouhaha. I’ve culled a few regarding DVR and NEA:
* “I hadn’t heard about the NEA/TFA alliance. I am a member of NEA, and would never expect the prez to go there. It insults all the educators with master’s degrees. I will be talking to my local union reps, and trying to stir up some trouble in this neck of the woods.”
* “Van Roekel has pissed off a lot of supporters by doing this. This may not be the only public slap in the face. That is, by someone other than educators bloggers like Anthony Cody and myself.”
* “Why is this DVR guy still in charge? Who’s running the show? Looks bad for the teachers to allow this guy to remain president.”
* “I don’t know…what is the NEA presidential process? Do they have to wait to a certain date before they could elected someone other than DVR? His cozying up to TFA as per the USA Today article is fairly recent; my guess there just hasn’t been an opportunity to replace him yet.”
* “Wow! Matt Damon and Nancy unapologetically support teachers while the corrupt NEA leader sells them out. Yes, those who collaborate with the capitalist bosses are corrupt IMHO. Any way the guy could be recalled/replaced?”
* “Why have I been paying all this money to the NEA – for the possibilty of losing my job to a cheaper, lower-paid, less experienced newbie?????”
* “And I think that that union members should seriously consider replacing DVR. It isn’t like Mr. Damon is a politician, he is an individual and in denying the award he is pointing out a noxious development from the union leadership.”