This Forum strongly supports the union movement, and the right of public employees to form unions and engage in collective bargaining with governmental units. This is a right one receives from being an American, a basic right and one to be supported. But the public employee unions themselves are just making it so hard to support and protect this right.
Public employee unions are failing today because they do not understand a basic reality As public employees they are different from private sector employees. They need the support of the public. They need to act in such a manner that they promote the public good, and recognize that improved compensation, fringe benefits and working conditions are generated by a public that supports them. They need to put the public welfare first, and in the long run doing so is the only way they will achieve their own goals.
Case in point are the teacher unions. Because of their unique relationship to the nation’s children their highest priority must be the safety and education of children. Yes we know they want higher pay and better support, but that will only come when parents and other taxpayers see that their children’s needs are being met first. If teachers appear to put their own well being ahead of that of children, even if that is not the actual case the public will turn against them.
Such is the situation Chicago where teachers have gone on strike, creating chaos and hardship for hundreds of thousands of children and their parents.
More than 26,000 teachers and support staff were expected to hit the picket lines early Monday, while the school district and parents carried out plans for keeping nearly 400,000 students safe and occupied while classes remain empty in the coming days in the nation’s third largest school district.
What a disaster for everyone. First of all
Chicago’s mayor is Rahm Emmanuel, a strong
Democrat who naturally favors and supports union. That alone makes the strike
largely unwarranted. Secondly, the teacher’s have been offered a
large increase in salary, much larger than many in the private sector can
Emanuel said the district had offered the teachers a 16 percent pay raise over four years, doubling an earlier offer.
But most importantly, the strike will lead to less rather than more bargaining rights for public employees. The strike will harm Democrats, who find they are caught between their support for unions and a public that is increasingly disgusted by union leaders who seem to have no empathy for the taxpayers or for the students, even though almost all the teachers are highly dedicated to their students.
So at the end of the day more anti-union, anti-union rights Conservatives will be elected because of the strike in
Maybe the Chicago
teachers union is smart enough to know how this will help make for better
schools, better teachers and stronger unions.
The rest of us sure don’t.