Rebecca Friedrichs: It’s Teacher Appreciation Week, but unions show no appreciation

It’s no coincidence that on May 1 — May Day, of all days — state and national teachers’ unions ordered their ranks of comrades across the country to strike. Under the "Red for Ed" banner, thousands of teachers in North Carolina and South Carolina abandoned their classrooms to lobby for more pay, among other demands.

Red for Ed gained prominence last year during the wave of teacher strikes in states like Arizona and Kentucky, with one popular Facebook page describing itself as a "grassroots movement started by parents and teachers as a way to stand up for Public Education."

What a load of baloney!

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As someone who’s fought for years against the abuse and corruption of state and national teachers’ unions, I see right through this claim of “grassroots.” The unions work to make all of their pet social and political agendas seem grassroots — March for Our Lives, the Women’s March, Take a Knee, #NotMyPresident, Sanctuary Cities. In reality, maybe one or a few people initially spark an idea, but before anyone can blink an eye the unions show up with fancy posters, slick websites, T-shirts, catchy slogans and bottomless funding.

Red for Ed is no different.

“We were called grassroots, but we never met alone,” Catherine Barrett, a 20-year Arizona teacher told me. “The Arizona Education Association was always in the room — they always set up the meeting; they always kept the agenda.”

Barrett a reading specialist, was enthusiastic when she joined other Arizona teachers wearing red for a day. She believed she was supporting a pay increase and “fighting to put more money and new technology into our classrooms.” But she soon discovered the powers behind Red for Ed were using teachers and kids to advance a political agenda.

Noah Karvelis, a Red for Ed leader, told her their local Arizona efforts were “going national.” She was surprised to hear that, given their fledgling group hadn’t even had its first event.

Then as red-clad teachers gathered in front of media to launch their efforts, true union motives took center stage. Leveraging the photo op, unions announced their endorsement of Dave Garcia, a Democratic candidate for governor. Barrett told me, “That’s when we realized we were political theater.”

Then unions morphed Red for Ed into the “Invest in Ed” ballot initiative, to raise taxes on Arizonans, while activists in states like West Virginia, Kentucky, and California organized strikes and schemed to defeat Republican officeholders throughout the country.

Nothing new here. Government unions have used the fresh-faced image of children for five decades to push their agenda — all while bullying teachers to fund the nightmare.

But why the sudden focus on “grassroots” teacher movements? On June 27, 2018, all teachers were freed from 50-years of bondage to forced union fees. A U.S. Supreme Court decision known as Janus liberated us.

During Janus oral arguments, the union’s attorney threatened that if the court freed employees from forced union fees, the unions would “Raise an untold specter of union unrest throughout the country” because “union security is the tradeoff for no strikes.”

Though Janus technically freed us, teachers are still trapped behind an iron curtain of union oppression.

So the Red for Ed "grassroots movement," including the May Day walkouts, is a hoax. A nationwide temper tantrum — a shakedown of American families. In order to get loving teachers to participate, unions make our work environments a living hell, tell us society is holding out on us, and then convince us abandoning our responsibilities is "for the kids."

Barrett pointed out that unions use these strikes to “inconvenience parents on purpose,” and warns that their ultimate goal is “to propagandize parents, teachers and kids so unions can flip states and impact the 2020 presidential election.”

I’m offended by all of this, as are millions of teachers who just want to teach. We desire to make a lifelong, positive impact in the lives of children. That’s why so many great teachers, like Barrett, innocently jump behind “grassroots” movements like Red for Ed. They’re naive to the corrupt motives of unions, and their obsession with money, power and mind-control.

Barrett eventually resigned from Red for Ed, so she was labeled a “turncoat,” and receives sickening backlash from teacher-union activists. She stopped funding unions too.

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Barrett and I know from experience that most teachers want to leave state and national unions but are too terrified to do so. Though Janus technically freed us, teachers are still trapped behind an iron curtain of union oppression.

This week is National Teacher Appreciation Week. Unions will give all teacher comrades some small trinket to make us feel special — a “gift” they’ll purchase with our dues money. Don’t fall for it, teachers. We don’t need empty flattery, broken promises, or “representation.” What we need is liberation from union tyranny so we can return to positively impacting the lives of every student we touch. We won’t accomplish our noble goals by abandoning the kids. When faced with May Day marches and union propaganda, teachers should just say “nyet.”

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