Michigan union leader says AFT Prez Weingarten is becoming a dictator

Aug 10, 2013 by

DEARBORN, Mich. – We’ve been one of the biggest critics of AFT President Rhonda “Randi” Weingarten over the years, but we’ve never referred to her as a dictator.

It took one of Weingarten’s own union members to make that comparison.

The name calling is the result of a union squabble in the Dearborn school district between Weingarten’s American Federation of Teachers and its local affiliate, the Dearborn Federation of School Employees Local 4750.

According to PressAndGuide.com, DFSE leaders have been contemplating a split from their parent union since early this year. They say the union can’t afford to pay its AFT dues without raising fees on its 900 members. Some DFSE members have concluded that their union would be better off dropping its AFT affiliation and becoming independent.

When AFT officials got wind of such treasonous talk, they held a hearing to determine if DFSE President Sharon Korhonen and her fellow leaders violated “the local’s constitution by trying to separate from the AFT,” PressAndGuide.com reports.


At the center of this brouhaha is a controversial vote that DFSE members took part in last April. AFT leaders say the vote was over whether or not the DFSE should sever ties with the national group. DFSE leaders say the April vote was only about the local union budget and had nothing to do with disaffiliation.

(Frankly, we don’t care why the unions are fighting; we’re just enjoying the show.)

On July 20, AFT leaders took their own vote and decided to take control of the local affiliate until the problems are sorted out. Weingarten’s group sent four union thugs to take the keys, so to speak, from Korhonen.

That’s when things got interesting.

According to Korhonen, on July 22, four AFT officials entered her union office “like gangsters” and demanded “all our files, keys, passwords.”

“We told them no,” Korhonen told the Detroit News. “They refused to leave the office.”

The union hooligans only left after Korhonen called the cops.

But that didn’t settle the matter.

The AFT has since taken the dispute to court. AFT officials are hoping a Wayne County judge will give them control of the Dearborn union.

Meanwhile, the AFT has established its own office in the Dearborn area, PressAndGuide.com reports.

Weingarten’s union has also had DFSE’s funds frozen, which is preventing Korhonen from paying the utility bills, rent, and various other expenses needed to keep her office functioning, the news site reports.

Weingarten recently sent a letter to DFSE members, explaining that her strong-armed tactics are meant to “safeguard their right to govern their own local.”

(Is this the Big Labor version of “the Arab Spring”?)


She must have decided that sounds better than telling DFSE members that the AFT doesn’t want to lose their dues dollars and will stop at almost nothing to keep them rolling in.

Korhonen responded by writing her own letter to DFSE members, in which she told them, “No one is taking this union over. Do not listen to lies.”

She added this warning: “Dictators gain power when people don’t think and don’t seek the truth.”

That’s clearly a swipe at Weingarten, which illustrates how unpleasant things have gotten for the AFT over in Dearborn, Michigan.

Like we said, we’ve never called Weingarten a dictator, because that’s not necessary when those who know her best do it for us.

Michigan union leader says AFT Prez Weingarten is becoming a dictator – EAGnews.org powered by Education Action Group Foundation, Inc..

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