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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Cowards

"Housekeeping Items" were once a regular feature of the contract negotiations that I participated in when I was union Vice-President and an elected negotiator for the Port Huron Education Association.  They were mostly little things.  Sometimes an item was added to the housekeeping list to reflect changes in State or Federal laws.  One clause or another of our professional agreement would be modified and, of course, no one opposed those changes.  The new contract language would be typed and copied and the negotiating teams' respective Chief or Co-Chiefs would initial the document.  Simple stuff.

Many years ago, the non-discrimination clause of our contract needed to be "corrected" to bring it into compliance with the  federal non-discrimination laundry list. Some folks on both teams took a deep breath and waited to see what I would do.  You see, I was a known homosexual and a union and gay rights activist.  However, the adding of "sexual orientation" was not a mandated change.  Would I make it an issue?

Well, I f#@king caved.  I  was a coward.

I was also bullied.  I was given various reasons why I should not even broach the subject with my own negotiating team.  The possible outcomes of that decision, I was told, were too dire.  The union leadership and most team members did not want a public fight.  Not even a skirmish.  They were cowards, too.

I hope that someday soon the Port Huron Area School District will change its student and employee non-discrimination policies to reflect the reality of 2010.  Do they now have the courage to, as one union president loved to say, "do the right thing?"

Recently, the Saline School District's Board of Education was given the opportunity to lead by adopting a non-discrimination policy that included "sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression."  They chose not to change a thing.......

Cowards.


And, children are dying.....


Hat tip:  Dan Savage via AnnArbor.com



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