North Dakota United is a group formed by the state’s two largest unions: The teachers and the public workers. The group claims to represent over 11,000 people, and describes itself on its website as a “professional organization.” You’d think, from the way they describe themselves, that they mostly concern themselves with professional development and advocacy on issues of importance to government employees.
Which is all well and good. That’s exactly what you would expect from an organization like that. What you might not expect is the group meeting in “solidarity” with advocacy groups pushing positions far outside the scope of things like teacher pay and pension reform.
Like, say, Planned Parenthood?
Below is an email forwarded to me by a SAB reader announcing a series of “solidarity” gatherings organized by Planned Parenthood to promote left-wing issues. Among the “invested” groups in these meetings is North Dakota United.
I’m certain that North Dakota United counts, among its membership, people with diverse opinions about politics generally and abortion specifically. So it is appropriate that North Dakota United be engaging in issue advocacy so far outside its primary mission?
Is North Dakota United really representing these workers? Or is that just an excuse for a group that really serves as a backstop for left-wing politics in the state?
Keep in mind that in some ways North Dakota United is actually embedded in our state government. In Article VIII, Section 6 of the state constitution there is a requirement that the head of the North Dakota Education Association be on a committee which passes recommended candidates to Governor Jack Dalrymple for the State Board of Higher Education. And, indeed, North Dakota United President Nick Archuleta is currently involved in sending recommendations to Dalrymple for nominee to replace recently-resigned SBHE President Kirsten Diederich.
You would think that an organization named in our state constitution would want to refrain from such overtly ideological advocacy.
Really, what North Dakota United does as a private advocacy group is of little concern to me. They have the same rights to free speech and free association as everyone else. But the group’s members should be aware of what’s going on (I don’t think they are), and we should strip this group out of our constitution and statutes where ideological groups have no business being.