Our State Worker column in tomorrow's Sacramento Bee touches on how union leaders set the public's perception of rank-and-file members. We think that there's a tendency to see the unions as filled with folks who march in lockstep with their leadership, endlessly clawing tor more money and benefits.
As the faces of their organizations, union bosses are heavily scrutinized, right down to their personal grooming. For an example, check out the first paragraph in this piece on CCPOA State President Mike Jimenez run by the left-leaning Mother Jones.
The more powerful the union, the more its leaders attract the attention of the media and the public. It's why CCPOA gets lots of press while the scientists' union gets relatively little.
Do you agree with the premise of the piece we're writing? How much do leaders calibrate public perception of their members? And how much room do union members have for dissent?