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AFFT in Law & Liberty: For Whom Does the Union Speak?

Below is an excerpt from an essay by Americans for Fair Treatment CEO, David Osborne, and senior writer and researcher, Suzanne Bates published in Law & Liberty:

In May 2021, when James Davis became president of the union representing 30,000 faculty and staff at the City University of New York (CUNY), it was a time of budget cuts that roiled union members. The year before, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the union complained but was unable to do much to stop the university system from cutting 2,800 part-time and hundreds of full-time positions.

Perhaps this helps explains why Davis agreed to engage in some performative activism just a month into his term as union president. In June 2021, his union, the Professional Staff Congress (PSC), passed a resolution condemning Israel for violence against the Palestinian people during a conflict that erupted in May. The resolution calls Israel a “settler colonial state” guilty of “apartheid” and “legalized racial discrimination.” It also recommends the union explore the possibility of becoming part of the anti-Israel BDS movement.

The PSC was just one in a herd of unions that chose to take the anti-Israel position. Roofers Local 36 in Los Angeles released a statement condemning Israel, while UNITE HERE Local 23 representing hospitality workers in the South tweeted out their support for Palestinians, as did the Teamsters Local 804 in New York City.

What set PSC apart was the swift backlash to the resolution by the union’s members. Within weeks, at least 100 professors pledged to resign, potentially costing the union around $100,000 a year in dues.

Read the full piece here.

Americans for Fair Treatment

Americans for Fair Treatment is a free, membership, non-profit organization designed to help public sector workers exercise their First Amendment rights without fear of coercion from unions.