Saturday, September 8, 2012

Public Employee Labor Unions

I have never understood public employee labor unions. "The primary reason public employee unions are a bad idea is because politicians pay them off with our money. These unions receive billions from taxpayers, who in return contribute millions to the politicians who gave them those billions." Scott Walker.

I was a freshman student at Bethel Park High school in 1970. Many students chose not to attend school when our teachers threatened to strike. Even when I was 15 years old I knew it was wrong, and I went to school that day. 

Now we are in the middle of a Chicago teachers strike against democratic mayor Rahm Emanuel. For those of you who do not know. Rahm is the former chief of staff for the Obama administration. The Romney-Ryan ticket just backed Rahm's hard line position against the union that brought on this strike. I can not imagine that I am the only one who does not see the obvious conflict of interests. If Rahm caves in this will be a victory for bureaucracy over the education of our children. I hope Rahm sticks to his ideals and stays the course. I hope that he is not union president of the Illinois state teacher association next year.

When I began my teaching career in 2004 I remember clearly brushing against this conflict in the Philadelphia school district. I was watching some video footage of a former strike, and I was very surprised to see my principal at the front of the picket line with a sign that said the administration was unfair to her. When there is no difference between labor and management the protests against management no longer seem credible. Instead of fighting against injustice they are really fighting to protect their turf. This is the essence of what is wrong with government. It is these kinds of forces that cause bureaucracy and inefficiency in government. These teachers would say that they want to improve education. I think they are more interested in protecting their wages and working conditions over student needs in the district. Public employees need to go back to the days of being public servants. Before their were labor unions in government there was a stronger desire among government employees to work for the good of their country.

I respect a union employee who wants to stick it to the man. However, I find it silly to do this when that man is me.  

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