AFT Interns Unionize

Mike Antonucci questions what AFT interns will get out of unionization.

Statement by American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on the formation of a union of AFT interns:

“We respect the decision of the American Federation of Teachers interns to form and vote for a union—the first intern (non-medical) union in the nation. As an employer that pays interns a wage, and as a union that believes in workers’ right to organize, we know that people are more likely to succeed when they have a real voice on the job. Our interns have been invaluable, and we look forward to an ongoing, productive relationship with them and their union.”

Since AFT interns are already paid at more than the minimum wage there won’t be much controversy about this within or outside of the union. There is one clear distinction between employees and interns, however. An internship, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, is of “fixed duration.” Otherwise there would be such a thing as career interns. In the case of AFT interns, the duration appears mostly to be from two months to a single semester, though a few last a full year.

Sure, it’s goofy. Can interns strike? How are their officers elected and by whom (and when)? Dues? Agency fees? Release time?

But these question are academic. If AFT wants to play at union with the kids, they have the right.