A recent filing with the Louisiana Board of Ethics suggests that the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is seeking to influence the upcoming Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) elections.
On September 16th, an AFT-affiliated political action committee called Orleans Future PAC filed a statement of organization with the state ethics board. Meladie Munch, former president of the Jefferson Federation of Teachers, is listed as both chairperson and treasurer of the new PAC, although the filing was prepared by an out-of-state campaign finance consultant and the committee’s funds are held in a Montana bank account.
Strangely enough, the North Rocheblave Street address given for Orleans Future PAC is the home of this guy…
That’s Keith Hee Chung, Jr., although you may know him by his rap name, “Mr. Boss Villain” (my guess is you probably don’t). How/why Chung is connected to this endeavor is unclear, since it appears his prior political experience is limited to a few turns as an election day worker for some local campaigns.
PAC Is Part Of A Broader AFT Push
In any case, the creation of Orleans Future PAC is the latest development in a well-funded and increasingly aggressive campaign by AFT to reestablish itself in the Crescent City. AFT’s annual reports to the Department of Labor reveal that the union spent nearly $730,000 over the past two years to support organizing efforts in New Orleans charter schools.
Earlier this spring, AFT and its local affiliate, the United Teachers of New Orleans, launched surprise organizing drives at two local charters. In the past week, I’ve also learned that union organizers may be trying to initiate similar campaigns at two additional schools in the city.
That being said, with only three OPSB seats up for grabs and four weeks to go until Election Day, it’s unlikely that AFT will be able to make much of an impact on the outcome of the races. Still, the union’s foray into school board politics shows that AFT is as committed as ever to rolling back the progress New Orleans has made in education over the past decade. We need to remain vigilant to ensure that doesn’t happen.