NBC News: “Missouri teacher resigns after school tells him to remove Pride flag” by Jo Yurcaba (Sept. 9, 2021)

Where was this teacher’s union and why weren’t they fighting for him? — I keep hearing stories like this one, and not hearing any kind of comment from a union rep in the press reporting. And while this may be an oversight of the reporter, I can’t help but wonder if it is something worse — the absence of the union in actually advocating for individual worker rights, particularly in light of illegal/unfair treatment of an individual worker due to their different in some way.

I strongly believe in the power of what unions could be, but am more and more disenchanted with their actual functioning of existing unions to fight for individual workers. I have in recent years encouraged several folks (who came to me for legal help with an employment situation) to reach out to their local union rep, and I’m sad to report that none of them got any help to speak of, with no real willingness by the union to even speak to management in a meaningful way about the problem.

I’m disheartened by this. I would love to hear some of you (especially in the labor movement) explain why my observations are not representative of any real trends — because I truly hope that what I’ve seen are uncommon situations.

We need unions, badly. But we need real agitating unions even more.