This year personnels non-titulaires in the education system have a council (CCP) that will meet with the rectorat about all firings and individual job-related problems. On Thursday I got a big envelope with flyers from all of the different unions that want me to vote for them to carry my grievances to the rectorat. I am planning to vote, even though I don't think they'll actually do anything for me, so I'm trying to figure out which syndicat to vote for.
I immediately dismissed CGT and CFDT. I want nothing to do with unions who continually make my life miserable with train strikes. I want to make sure I vote for an organization that engages in real discussions and doesn't just faire la grève all the time.
So that leaves several other syndicats to consider. Most of them make totally ridiculous claims - one of them says they are going to guarantee me well-behaved students. Good luck buddy. Do they have a plan to personally harass each smart-mouthed lycéen and call the parents of all my wiggly little CE1s? Another promises to preserve laicité in the schools. I'm not sure what aspect of secularism they think is being attacked, are they going to require Muslim girls to not wear a head scarf outside of the building now? However if they will support me in my decision to not talk about Christmas at all I'm all for that. Tangent on Christmas in the French schools - I know that in France Christmas is more like Thanksgiving, that it's been totally stripped of any religious meaning, but in America it is still a religious holiday, and as such I belive it has no place in the public schools and I refuse to teach it. To me that is a major laicité violation. So if they can get all the marchés de noel outlawed, I'll vote for that. (We'll see if I end up actually refusing to teach Christmas or if I cave in under pressure.) The other problem is that most of these unions are for teachers of secondaire, and I'm more concerned about what happens in primaire.
But realistically, what are any of these groups going to do for me? Are they going to insist on the rectorat sponsoring a visa for me next year? Doubtful. Are they going to do anything to ameliorate the working conditions of assistants? Also doubtful. But I like feeling that I can have an impact on what happens here, so I'll vote anyway. If you have any information on the education syndicats feel free to share!