Arizona Education Association (AEA) president Joe Thomas was caught on video telling teachers who act as union liaisons in their schools to intimidate any colleagues who refuse to participate in walkouts apparently planned in anticipation of future #RedforEd rallies at the State Capitol in Phoenix.
Michelle Dillard, an organizer of a group designed to push back against the AEA and #RedforEd in Arizona called Purple for Parents, tweeted the video of Thomas’ rant on Sunday:
#AngryUnionBoss Joe Thomas giving orders to #RedForEd to coerce & intimidate our teachers. Disgusting union bully tactics. Hostile work environment. Teachers are welcome in #PurpleForParents #WalkAway pic.twitter.com/xExUSu8bKD
— • michelle • (@Meeeech_L) April 21, 2019
“So if you have people that say by God I don’t want to walk out again, I’ll never do that again, you better make sure they’re in a red shirt every Wednesday,” Thomas said at the beginning of the 24 second video, in which he spoke to several teachers wearing trademark #RedforEd red shirts.
“Because the legislature needs to see that we’re serious. That we’re paying attention that we’ve not closed our eyes and they’ve not done enough. Because they’re watching us as well,” Thomas continued.
“And if you have people that don’t want to walk out, that don’t want to go back down to the Capitol, don’t want to leave their classrooms, they better be out on that walk out, that stand out, excuse me,” (emphasis added) Thomas said at the end of the brief video.
“I hope the districts and administrations take these threats seriously and step up immediately to protect our teachers. It should be made clear that any harassment or intimidation will not be tolerated. The hostile work environment that #RedForEd has created is the learning environment for our children. Modeling bullying behavior in front of our kids is shameful,” Purple for Parents’ Dillard said after first seeing the video.
One person, apparently a teacher in Arizona public schools, tweeted “I know for a fact that if a teacher does not visibly support these union thugs, they make their lives miserable creating a hostile work environment. #RedforEd is nothing more than a leftist partisan gang. They could care less about the students. Only votes & money.”
This is real. I know for a fact that if a teacher does not visibly support these union thugs, they make their lives miserable creating a hostile work environment. #RedforEd is nothing more than a leftist partisan gang. They could care less about the students. Only votes & money
— rbay2112 (@rbay2112) April 22, 2019
Breitbart News asked Mr. Thomas and the AEA for comment, but has not received a response.
The Arizona Daily Independent published the 24-second video of Thomas’ rant on YouTube on Sunday, April 21, apparently the first time it was made available to the public. On Tuesday, the editor of the Arizona Daily Independent said in an email to Breitbart News that “we were told it was taken on 4/17” [April 17] at the Pyle Adult Recreation Center in Tempe, Arizona.
Teachers unions and the #RedforEd movement in other states have already announced May Day rallies. In North Carolina, for instance, several public school districts have announced that they will be closing on May 1 due to a planned #RedforEd rally at the State Capitol in Raleigh.
In Arizona, a formal rally has not yet been announced for May Day by either the Arizona Education Association or Arizona Educators United, the state’s #RedforEd organization put together in March 2018 by then 23-year old Noah Karvelis and several other far left community organizing activists embedded in the teachers union.
Behind the scenes, however, the AEA’s Thomas has been attempting to orchestrate a May Day rally this year at the State Capitol in Phoenix, sources tell Breitbart News.
Marisal Garcia, a Vice President of the AEA, made it very clear in the April 16 edition of Cronkite News, a 30 minute news report broadcast daily on Arizona public television stations from Arizona State University’s union-friendly Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications, that teachers “may have to take it into our own hands” if the Arizona state legislature does not concede to the additional demands of the #RedforEd movement:
As budgets head up, and nothing is going to be talked about that has anything to do with what we did last year, my assumption is people are going to get extremely agitated and want to do something larger.
What I think may come down to it, honestly, the governor and the legislature cannot fix, we’re going to have to fix this ourselves.
Educators have been waiting. This election they were promised. It still hasn’t happened. We may have to take it into our own hands.
You can watch the complete broadcast here:
Phoenix conservative talk radio host Mike Broomhead, who broke the story with an audio version of the Thomas rant on his KFYI program Monday, also says his sources say a strike may be in the planning stages:
#RedForEd. .@broomheadshow has audio of Joe Thomas telling other Red For Ed leaders they better get teachers to show up to a standout. This while several in their private Facebook group call for another strike.
Hear it: https://t.co/YyqjgY9drj
— NewsTalk 550 KFYI (@KFYI) April 22, 2019
The #RedforEd movement was launched in March 2018 by then 23-year-old Noah Karvelis, who was reportedly appointed head of the Littleton Education Association, which represents about 150 teachers in the Little Elementary School District, located in metropolitan Phoenix, by Thomas, despite the fact that he was only a provisionally certified teacher in his just his second year on the job.
In April of last year an estimated 50,000 teachers rallied at the State Capitol in a successful effort to pressure Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, and the Arizona State Legislature to give the state’s teachers a significant pay raise. During that period of teacher activism, so many teachers walked out of the classroom that schools across the state were forced to shut down for six consecutive days.
As Breitbart News reported in February, “This teachers union effort, called #RedforEd, has its roots in the very same socialism that President Trump vowed in his 2019 State of the Union address to stop, and it began in its current form in early 2018 in a far-flung corner of the country before spreading nationally. Its stated goals–higher teacher pay and better education conditions–are overshadowed by a more malevolent political agenda: a leftist Democrat uprising designed to flip purple or red states to blue, using the might of a significant part of the education system as its lever.”
Karvelis, now 24, announced in March that he is leaving his job as a public school teacher in Arizona to attend a Ph.D. program in Curriculum & Instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.