Illinois Federation of Teachers President Dan Montgomery says the union has been growing statewide and nationally despite last week’s expected Supreme Court ruling that stopped the collection of “fair share” bargaining fees from public workers who don’t want to be union members.
“Our union is adding members. The AFT (American Federation of Teachers), our national union, is bigger than it’s ever been. We’re adding members here in Illinois all the time. … The graduate employees at the University of Chicago have just voted to join us,” Montgomery said Sunday on WGN AM-720.
“People want to be in the union and they want to be active,” he said.
Montgomery said he believes the union still will be very politically active — both with campaign contributions for candidates and boots on the ground. He said attendance at regional forums to meet and question candidates was up during the primary campaign.
Montgomery noted teacher mobilization efforts in several Republican-leaning states, the “Red for Ed Movement” as it was dubbed, involved places where collective bargaining was illegal and no “fair share” laws were in effect.
“That didn’t stop the teachers from organizing and taking to the streets and actually having a lot of public support,” he said. “I think that’s just the mode we’re in right now with the extreme right-ward conservative turn the nation’s taken.” (Rick Pearson)