#660 – Dick Bernard: Don Hill on organized teachers, and union organizing generally.

There are benefits of being on too-many e-mail lists. Surprisingly often, into the inbox, will come a nugget, as happened today, when Kathy forwarded to me, something Howie had forwarded to her: a 30 minute radio conversation with former Minnesota Education Association President Donald C. Hill of Northfield.
You can listen to the entire conversation, with retired teacher and host David Bly, here. The show was apparently first aired September 16, 2011 in Northfield MN. No matter. It is as current as today.
Anyone involved with Minnesota Public Education would immediately know the name and the voice of Don Hill. Many in other states would know of him as well.
He came on the scene at a turbulent time in Minnesota public employee union development.
I began my staff career in 1972, at about the same point in time that the name “Don Hill” was increasingly being recognized as an up and coming MEA teacher leader.
Best as I recall he was MEA President for approximately ten years, leaving office by the mid-1980s.
Love him or hate him, Don Hill made a big difference – and a positive difference – for Minnesotans, and not only for public school teachers. People like him do not come along often, and when they appear they are larger than life. They’re not in the business of being ‘average and ordinary’.
Listen to Don’s story of his years in teaching and as President of Minnesota’s teacher union.
The current attack on teacher unions in particular is largely because they have maintained at least a semblance of solidarity with each other.
Unions are fun to attack; even union members who dislike unions – yes, there are some of those – have reason to greatly appreciate the advocacy in their behalf over their careers.
But for unions to remain effective, the members of those unions need to put shoulder to the wheel, first recognizing that what they have can not be taken for granted, and that a stable future for themselves and their colleagues depends on their working together for a common cause.
I’ve often written about Unions, primarily during the Wisconsin spectacle of 2011. My most recent piece, immediately before the 2012 election, can be found here. (JoAnn, mentioned in the post, won her seat in the legislature. She will serve with distinction, in nobody’s “pocket”, which is as it should be.)
Thanks, Don, and thanks to all who endeavor to represent their peers, particularly in union settings.

undated photo of Don Hill submitted by a reader.

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