Campaign 2012: California Union Upset Over Obama Hire
You may recall from Stephanie Simon's Reuters story last week that the Obama campaign's hiring of former Parent Revolution press person Linda Serrato was a bit upsetting to some union folks in California. Serrato left in April and things haven't been the same since, according to California Federation of Teachers Secretary Treasurer Jeff Freitas:
"We have endorsed President Obama for reelection, but it will be very hard to generate enthusiasm and the campaign would be clearly insensitive to the concerns of teachers/ educators if they send her out.... Therefore, if Linda or other anti-union advocates are here in California, we may not be able to participate in the same fight."
Righteous anger, or thinly veiled threat? You be the judge. The full text of the email is below, courtesy of Simon (who got it from Freitas). Meantime, KPCC's Tami Abdollah reports that only one of the several teacher dismissal bills introduced in the California state legislature this year remains alive. So it's not like the CFT has lost all its clout. PS: Simon has joined Twitter: @SSimonReuters.
From: Jeff Freitas <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, May 3, 2012 at 5:39 PM
Subject: Re: Anti Education Activist is Obama "Spokesperson" in in CA?
Parent Revolution and the legislation of Parent Trigger is focused on privatizing public education. Their goal is to either close schools down or turn them into charter schools ran by business with corporate models. This model for education is detrimental to what we must be doing and is a direct attack on rights of the employees of the districts. By eliminating rights of employees you do not strengthen the rights of students and community, it is just the opposite.
Time after time, the Parent Trigger advocates pit educational organizations, unions, against the students, and that is exactly the opposite of what we stand for. The California Federation of Teachers and its members are focused on a quality and equal education for all students. We have taken pay cuts, increased our share of healthcare costs to help school districts keep the doors open. Yet, we are blamed for the "crisis in education" and let's ignore the severe cut to educational funding. Let's ignore the skyrocketing tuition for higher education which is becoming unreachable for low and middle class families. Let's ignore the hours and effort we put in to help the students of California everyday and only focus on the drivel they put out about unions.
If the OFA believes that we will help with reelection efforts when they are using spokespeople that attack us day in and day out, then they are seriously wrong. We have endorsed President Obama for reelection, but it will be very hard to generate enthusiasm and the campaign would be clearly insensitive to the concerns of teachers/educators if they send her out.
Therefore, if Linda or other anti-union advocates are here in California, we may not be able to participate in the same fight.
Jeffery M Freitas
California Federation of Teachers