About a month ago, we covered Jeffco United, a union-backed nonprofit organization which led the movement to recall three conservative board members in Colorado’s Jefferson County. While the group claimed to be unaffiliated with any particular labor union, it was soon revealed that $283,500 or 99 percent of its funding came from unions—the National Education Association (NEA) in Washington, D.C. doled out $150,000.
Now John Newkirk, one of the ousted board members, has new details on what really happened in Jefferson County right after the school election:
The unions promptly sent in a full-time organizer from Detroit, forty-eight embedded operatives from eighteen states, as well as a specialist to help coordinate “blitzes, marches, rallies, and other direct actions,” all intended to agitate and disrupt our community. A Seattle-based strategies firm was hired to “beat these [conservative] b—stards,” and children were encouraged by their teachers to walk out of classes in protest. My daughter’s school was marked up with hate graffiti, our board meetings were constantly interrupted by bellicose catcalls, and on more than one occasion we required police escorts to and from our cars.
[A] group calling itself Jeffco United began an aggressive campaign to intimidate, disparage, and overthrow the new board and emphatically insisted that it was a “parent driven, grassroots” effort. “The union is not behind this,” they claimed, as dozens of paid signature gatherersdisingenuously assured petition signers that a recall election wouldn’t “cost the district anything.” Their campaign of contradictions was wildly successful, and Jeffco’s duly elected Board of Education was ousted midterm and replaced by a single, unified slate of five union designees.
And what was Newkirk’s crime? Being a conservative. One Colorado College professor argued the recall effort was carried out “for more partisan reasons and political matters.” Yet Newkirk and the two other conservative board members were democratically elected in November 2013. And they advocated for such controversial proposals as tying teacher pay to student performance and keeping student data private. (Ironically enough, Newkirk’s school board even increased teacher salaries by eight percent.)
Alas, Big Labor wasn’t having it—opting instead for a more militant approach to pressure the conservative board members out of a job. It goes to show that union bosses don’t only pull strings at the national level—both the NEA and American Federation of Teachers are campaigning hard for Hillary Clinton—but also extend their tentacles to local affairs. And it seems hate graffiti is fair game.