Update: Reviewing StudentsFirst's Union Positions
Having watched the official comments, updates, and Twitter back and forth on where Michelle Rhee's StudentsFirst organization stands on the "right-to-work" law that just passed in Michigan, a friendly tipster from the AFT gathered up some clips from the past couple of years that includes "every collective bargaining fight over the last couple of years and the role StudentsFirst played in each one as reference."
Yesterday, StudentsFirst gave a long statement that confused many readers as to its bottom-line position, then provided a couple of clarifications that it doesn't have a position on RTW but supports the right of workers to collectively bargain.
As you'll see, the (unverified) collected items below suggest that StudentsFirst has been active on restricting collective bargaining in Michigan as well as in Ohio, Indiana, Idaho, and Wisconsin.
I'm sure StudentsFirst will have some thoughts on this, and will be sure to share their response as soon as I get it.
FROM AFT TIPSTER:
- StudentsFirst hired a longtime Kasich all to lobby on behalf of SB 5 in Ohio.
- StudentsFirst contributed half a million dollars to undermine a ballot initiative in Michigan that would have enshrined the right to collectively bargain in that state’s constitution.
- In 2011, StudentsFirst lobbied for the passage of a package of tie-barred bills in Michigan, one of which restricted collective bargaining for teachers. Internal documents show that StudentsFirst’s public position of neutrality on collective bargaining was not consistent with their actions in Michigan.
- StudentsFirst’s website announces their support for Indiana’s SB 575, which restricted collective bargaining for teachers.
- Michelle Rhee also appears to have provided cover for Scott Walker in Wisconsin during the Wisconsin collective bargaining fight.
- Rhee co-authored an op-ed praising legislation in TN that ended collective bargaining for teachers.
- In Idaho StudentsFirst contributed $100,000 a set of ballot measures that “reformed education” including taking away teachers rights to bargain collectively.