I believe unions should only fight for better benefits, higher wages, and working conditions. These are the only issues I will discuss as a union executive board member, and I don’t believe my union(s) should take moral stands on issues like the Iraq War or abortion or other issues, divisive or not.
Also, I don’t expect everyone to support fully the local union or what the state/local unions declare as core issues or what official positions they take on benefits packages or which people will be the primary focus of bargaining. I understand this. Some people don’t like unions at all or simply disagree with what unions fight for. I get it, and that’s fine.
But I draw the line at hypocrisy.
A small but vocal group of teachers in my building cry foul every time someone mentions the contract or how a potential decision impacts union issues. Eyes roll, heavy and loud sighs are sounded, and inevitably someone shouts down the speaker. This group of teachers are about six strong and rudely treat others with contempt and scorn.
However, four of this core group came to the union pleading for protection and assistance when they got into trouble at one time or another. We helped them, and then they proceed to bad-mouth the union as often as possible. Because of confidentiality agreements, none of us who helped them say anything publicly about their behavior and their use of the union, but it steams us every time.
At some point I may need to approach them one at a time and ask about the sources of their ire.