Great news – last night Ryan Grim of Huffington Post reported that Change.org is dropping union busting groups Students First and Stand for Children.
I posted a version of my post from yesterday afternoon on Change.org & union busting on AMERICAblog, after the decision was announced and evolved it into more of a retrospective of why it was important for labor and workers’ allies to stand up to this sort of business relationship with union busters.
This is a huge victory. It’s great for labor to fight back and have this sort of win, which is all too rare. It’s great that Change dropped these groups as clients. At AMERICAblog, I wrote:
Union busting isn’t ever OK, at least not for progressives. While Change has done the right thing by dropping Students First and Stand for Children as clients, it’d be great to know if this means they won’t take other union-busting groups as clients in the future, or if this is them just caving to a particular pressure campaign. As John noted earlier, there are certainly things that are concerning in even how they talked about the choice they made.
Nonetheless, this is a strong victory, lead by the teachers’ unions and progressives who believe that protecting workers’ rights is just as much a part of what it means to be progressive as protecting LGBT rights or immigrant rights.
Part of the discussion that goes beyond opposing union busting is what sort of expectations we place on businesses which provide infrastructure that the progressive movement uses. Change is not only the home to many progressive petition campaigns, but is a consulting group unions and other progressive groups use to help generate lists of new activist supporters. I’ve contracted them in the past for list building and they produce good results for the money.
Care2 is a similar sort of platform to Change, it’s an activist community and it sells email addresses to organizations. I’ve used them in the past too. And like Change, Care2 has had Students First as a client.
Blue State Digital is a technology platform used to conduct online organizing, fundraising and email campaigns. I’ve used their tool set in political campaigns and I hired them while I was at SEIU to provide their tools not only for the International but all SEIU locals. Blue State Digital is the tool set used by the Obama campaign. It’s also the tool set used by Rhee’s Students First.
The political consulting firm SKDKnickerbocker is not only frequently used by labor unions, but also Students First.
Change.org, Blue State Digital, Care2 and SKDKnickerbocker are all examples of pieces of infrastructure which progressive groups use that are or have assisted Students First bust teachers’ unions. None of this should be acceptable in the slightest. While I didn’t have any part in organizing the campaign targeting Change around Rhee and Stand for Children, I’d hope the AFT and other teachers’ unions look at BSD,
Care2 and SKDK as potential next targets. Businesses can work with whoever they like, but if they want progressive money, working with union busters should not be tolerated.
I’ve been contacted by Care2 and informed that they no longer have any relationship with Students First. I’m very glad to hear this.
Additionally, while Change.org is not going to renew their contract with Students First, it looks like they are contractually obligated to fulfill the ad placements they sold to Rhee’s group.