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Randi Waltongarten?

Publication Date: 
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
I’ve been the subject of some pretty stiff attacks from the UFT recently. The union’s bloggers can hardly mention my name without reiterating the fact that I once worked for the Walton Family Foundation. For the record, I did work for the foundation (for a little over seven months).† It was good work, and I left only because of a personal need to get back to NYC.†

As Edwize would have it, to take the Walton dime means that you have exiled yourself from the realm of all that is decent and good. You are unclean, an anti-unionist to the core and a tool for corporate America.†

Well, my friends at the UFT, it looks like you have some in-house cleaning to do: the Washington Post and other outlets are reporting that the district and the AFT chapter in D.C. have reached a tentative agreement to enact a merit pay scheme that will be funded in part by . . . . yes, it is true . . . the Walton Family Foundation.†

And who negotiated the agreement: none other than our favorite reform-minded labor leader, Randi Weingarten, who had this to say about the corporate funding: "Given the crisis, this is a very novel and clever way of trying to solve an immediate problem."

Good for Randi for being flexible, and seeing urgent educational problems as a good use for Wal-Mart profits. Good for her for negotiating a deal with a very tough negotiating partner; it sounds like a possible model to be replicated elsewhere, if not in its entirety than in the principles it establishes.†

I just hope her colleagues here in NYC will still talk to her.