From the moment that Detroit Federation of Teachers President Keith Johnson told public school teachers gathered at Cobo Hall last Sunday that he and his fellow officials would not fight for a better deal if the tentative contract they presented at the meeting was rejected, the DFT ceased to exist as a labor union.
In its place is a collection of well-dressed and well-paid enforcers of the demands of “Emergency Manager” Robert Bobb and the corporatist Board of Education.
The 7,000 educators who looked to the DFT officials to represent them in contract negotiations at this critical moment are now left more or less disorganized, facing off against not just the school board, but local, state and federal officials, including Barack Obama’s White House. And now the DFT stands against them too.
The courageous stand taken by workers at Ford Motor Company against both the bosses and the UAW officials has been cause to celebrate. For the first time in decades, workers have been able to effectively draw a line in the sand and declare they will go no farther with accepting concessions and givebacks.
Moreover, the effort to defeat the proposed concessions contract was not organized from above by labor union officials seeking to use our brothers and sisters as a battering ram or bargaining chip. This was a genuine membership-led effort, with workers using both classical and modern organizing techniques to win the day.
Ford Workers Reject Concession Deal in Huge Numbers
It was unlike anything that has been seen in this country since the militant labor battles of the 1970s and before.
For the first time in decades, workers at Ford Motor Company decisively rejected a proposed package of concessions negotiated by the company and corporatist officials from the United Auto Workers “union.”
Actually, “decisively” doesn’t begin to describe the overwhelming defeat working people handed to the capitalists and their “labor” lieutenants. Nationally, three-fourths of workers turned down the deal, with some plants registering opposition to the concessions deal above 90 percent!