BANNED: Teachers unions flexed their muscle this year in a boycott of the office supply store giant, Staples, after the company announced they would start selling stamps. They also boycotted Coca-Cola, hotels, and decried Time Magazine.
Teachers’ unions have boycotted, banned and decried some odd things this year — from hotels to office supply stores to Coca-Cola.
Here’s our list of some unexpected things that lit a flame under teachers’ unions in 2014, and what has happened since:
One of the largest teachers unions in the U.S., the American Federation of Teachers, banned one America’s favorite beverages from its’ facilities and events. The organization cited human rights violations.
But human rights may not be the entire reason behind AFT’s decision to fish cans of this tasty drink from office vending machines.
This may be more about the union resenting the beverage companies’ practice of subcontracting instead of hiring permanent employees, which is cited in the AFT resolution, said Larry Sand, president of the California Teachers Empowerment Network.
“Obviously they (Coca-Cola) were not using unionized workers,” Sand said.
In response to the ban, Coca-Cola representatives said in a statement to Watchdog.org the accusations were “outdated and erroneous.”
In response to AFT’s stance, Staples bowed to the unions’ request and stopped selling postage.
“Teachers buy supplies, so this time they (AFT) had weight,” Sand said.
3. Time magazine
After Time magazine ran a cover story about bad teachers with the headline: “Rotten Apples,” AFT was outraged and started a petition demanding an apology.
Unions delivered more than 100,000 petitions, and Time reprinted several of the letters it received from those who disagreed with the cover image that went with the story.
The United Teachers of Los Angeles switched the hotel for their leadership conference to show solidarity with members of a local labor union.
Unionized employees belonging to UNITE HERE Local 11 were picketing the Westin LAX for being forced to work under an expired contract. In a gesture of solidarity,UTLA moved the conference to another hotel.
Four days after UTLA announced the venue switch, the Los Angeles City Council approved a wage hike for hotel employees, setting the minimum wage at $15.37 an hour in hotels with 125 or more rooms.
While the boycotts, bans, and outrages had some success this year, teachers unions lost some other pretty big battles, such as the November elections.
AFT and the National Education Association spent almost $80 million combined on ousting Republicans from gubernatorial offices in states including Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida and Pennsylvania. All but one of the candidates they backed lost in November.
Sand said “2014 was a very good election year for school choice and school reform,” while unions were busy “flushing money down the toilet.” “As rich as they are, their money is still finite.”
Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association was kicked up to the highest court in the land, which also dealt a blow to the unions.
The plaintiffs in the case are challenging California’s “agency shop” laws, which require public employees to pay union dues to be legally employed. Recently the Ninth Circuit ruled the Supreme Court would decide the outcome of the case. A Supreme Court ruling in favor of the plaintiffs could affect shop laws in 26 states.