Friday, July 27, 2012

Randi Weingarten Heads To Detroit, Aims To Force Contract Negotiations For Teachers

Randi Weingarten Heads To Detroit, Aims To Force Contract Negotiations For Teachers:


Randi Weingarten Heads To Detroit, Aims To Force Contract Negotiations For Teachers

A few years ago, when Randi Weingarten and her colleagues at the American Federation of Teachers chose to set their 2012 convention in Detroit, the leadership of the nation's second largest teachers' union thought it would be nice to invest in the Motor City, a metropolis that once signified the innovation of the auto industry that had since become America's most visible example of the decay brought on by the recession.

"Detroit was in a period of real struggle," Weingarten, AFT's president, said in an interview. "We wanted to invest in Detroit. We wanted to be in a place that was the state that's the cradle of labor, where the auto industry was trying to make a comeback." The union had just negotiated a "tough contract" for its teachers, and eyes across the nation were on the impoverished, perpetually low-ranked Detroit Public Schools: if they could get better, so could anyone.

But since then, Detroit -- and particularly its schools -- has become a hotbed of labor-management tiffs. Over the 

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