Randi Weingarten answers “anything”

The American Federation of Teachers president defended her union on Reddit

Topics: Ask Me Anything, Teachers Unions, Teachers, Labor, Reddit, Randi Weingarten, , ,

Randi Weingarten answers "anything" (Credit: AP/Sitthixay Ditthavong)

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, took to Reddit to discuss the federation, her salary and public sector unions. Reddit’s Ask Me Anything (“AMA,”) is a popular feature where anonymous users can pose questions to notable people.

Weingarten was writing from the back of a tour bus between stops in Florida, where she is campaigning for President Obama. Here are a few highlights:

bobman15: I hear a lot of people slamming teachers unions because of how easy it is to get tenure and how hard it is to fire bad teachers. Are they correct or not and why?

Teacher unions represent teachers. And it’s management (e.g. principals, school boards, superintendents) who hire and evaluate teachers and grant tenure – not teachers unions…Tenure should be about fairness and not an excuse for managers not to manage or an inadvertent cloak of incompetence.

fejorama: FDR warnd against allowing government employees to unionize, because of the large potential for a conflict of interest. Why do you believe he was incorrect?

This isn’t what FDR said. The letter in question is here: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=15445. People…quote it out of context…He was in favor or workplace representations but worried about strikes. On this issue, before there were public sector unions in places like Ohio, there actually were more strikes than there were afterwards.

Steelchicken: Your salary last year was $407,323, yes?

My salary last year was about $360k. That’s about 3.5 times more than what my salary would have been as a NYC school teacher under the last contract I negotiated before I became AFT’s President. I love my job. I love representing educators. And I think that teachers should be making a lot more than they currently make.

And btw, in the corporate world, salaries for CEOs are not 3 to 5 times what their employees make. It’s hundreds of times more.

Miami_Metro: How do you justify what the Chicago union did in asking for more benefits on top of their overwhelmingly great salary and benefits while children are forced to stay at home or be loose on the streets, not doing constructive things?

No one wanted a strike. And no one strikes without cause. And no one wants to inconvenience parents. But I think its important to note that the settlement itself called for all the lost learning time to be made up, and that will happen. As important, the parents supported the teachers in the strike (one poll said 2/3…did) and many were on the picket line or at rallies with our members.

That’s because while teachers in Chicago were fighting for good conditions for themselves, they were also fighting to give parents more voice in how class size was determined; for the district to rehire 600 art, music and PE teachers; and for kids to have textbooks on day one. They were fighting to see that needed services were provided. To the extent the strike was successful, making common cause with parents and community played a major role in that.

Weingarten finished, saying: “Let me leave you with this – Public education is not a spectator sport – we need participation and further investment to ensure that all kids succeed.”



Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 17
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    John Stanmeyer

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Container City: Shipping containers, indispensable tool of the globalized consumer economy, reflect the skyline in Singapore, one of the world’s busiest ports.

    Lu Guang

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Man Covering His Mouth: A shepherd by the Yellow River cannot stand the smell, Inner Mongolia, China

    Carolyn Cole/LATimes

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Angry Crowd: People jostle for food relief distribution following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti

    Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    “Black Friday” Shoppers: Aggressive bargain hunters push through the front doors of the Boise Towne Square mall as they are opened at 1 a.m. Friday, Nov. 24, 2007, Boise, Idaho, USA

    Google Earth/NOAA, U.S. Navy, NGA, GEBCO

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Suburban Sprawl: aerial view of landscape outside Miami, Florida, shows 13 golf courses amongst track homes on the edge of the Everglades.

    Garth Lentz

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Toxic Landscape: Aerial view of the tar sands region, where mining operations and tailings ponds are so vast they can be seen from outer space; Alberta, Canada

    Cotton Coulson/Keenpress

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Ice Waterfall: In both the Arctic and Antarctic regions, ice is retreating. Melting water on icecap, North East Land, Svalbard, Norway

    Yann Arthus-Bertrand

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Satellite Dishes: The rooftops of Aleppo, Syria, one of the world’s oldest cities, are covered with satellite dishes, linking residents to a globalized consumer culture.

    Stephanie Sinclair

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Child Brides: Tahani, 8, is seen with her husband Majed, 27, and her former classmate Ghada, 8, and her husband in Hajjah, Yemen, July 26, 2010.

    Mike Hedge

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Megalopolis: Shanghai, China, a sprawling megacity of 24 Million

    Google Earth/ 2014 Digital Globe

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Big Hole: The Mir Mine in Russia is the world’s largest diamond mine.

    Daniel Dancer

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Clear-cut: Industrial forestry degrading public lands, Willamette National Forest, Oregon

    Peter Essick

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Computer Dump: Massive quantities of waste from obsolete computers and other electronics are typically shipped to the developing world for sorting and/or disposal. Photo from Accra, Ghana.

    Daniel Beltra

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Oil Spill Fire: Aerial view of an oil fire following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, Gulf of Mexico

    Ian Wylie

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Slide 13

    Airplane Contrails: Globalized transportation networks, especially commercial aviation, are a major contributor of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Photo of contrails in the west London sky over the River Thames, London, England.

    R.J. Sangosti/Denver Post

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Fire: More frequent and more intense wildfires (such as this one in Colorado, USA) are another consequence of a warming planet.

  • Recent Slide Shows



Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>