As Reported In The Wall Street Journal: American Federation of Teachers Attacks Show-Me
It seems James Shuls’ ongoing efforts to make our children’s education better and Andrew Biggs’ report on Missouri’s public pension liabilities have struck a sour chord with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), a nationwide public employee union. How sour? So sour that the AFT named the Show-Me Institute on a “blacklist” meant to attack supporters of education and pension reform (emphasis mine).
The union report says it wants pension trustees to “take into account certain collateral factors, such as a manager’s position on collective bargaining, privatization [read: vouchers] or proposals to discontinue providing benefits through defined benefit plans.”
The report adds the lovely threat that “The American Federation of Teachers is committed to shining a bright light on organizations that harm public sector workers, especially when those organizations are financed by individuals who earn their money from the deferred wages of our teachers.”
The report goes on to list StudentsFirst, the Show Me Institute and the Manhattan Institute as special bêtes noires that promote school and pension reform. And it helpfully lists no fewer than 34 funds whose “directors, managers, advisors and executives” have dared to support reform organizations. The funds on the blackball list include such well-known names as Appaloosa Management, Elliott Management, Khronos, KKR and Tudor Investment.
The AFT’s national report also appears to have been coordinated with a local AFT affiliate. Today, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch published a letter to the editor by Byron Clemens that assailed the Show-Me Institute and the pension work of Mike Podgursky, a Show-Me Institute board member and economist. Yet despite all of Clemens’ supposed sleuthing, the author ironically failed to reveal that he . . . is a “union organizer” with AFT. For a letter so intent on establishing “links,” it is curious Clemens did not reveal his own.
But what the AFT and Clemens did get right, explicitly and implicitly, is that if public unions such as the AFT stand in the way of reforms that would protect taxpayers and help kids, they should absolutely worry about the threat the Show-Me Institute poses to them. And to be clear, we will, with great pleasure, continue the fervent, methodical, and fact-based research that has raised their ire.