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Education Government The Almighty Buck Politics

Chicago Teachers Rip 'Big Money Interest Groups' 404

theodp writes "The striking Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) is holding a massive 'Wisconsin-style rally' Saturday as ongoing negotiations try to bring an end to the strike that has put education on hold for 350,000 of the city's schoolchildren. 'The 30,000 teachers, school social workers, clerks, vision and hearing testers, school nurses, teaching assistants, counselors, and other school professionals of the Chicago Teachers Union are standing strong to defend public education from test pushers, privatizers, and a national onslaught of big money interest groups trying to push education back to the days before teachers had unions,' explains the CTU web site. 'Around the country and even the world, our fight is recognized as the front line of resistance to the corporate education agenda.' Some are calling the strike — which has by most accounts centered on salary schedules (CPS salary dataset), teacher performance evaluations, grievance procedures, and which teachers get dibs on new jobs — a push-back to education reform that has possible Presidential election implications. The big winners in the school strike, Bloomberg reports, are the city's largely non-union 100+ charter schools, which remained open throughout the strike. Charter school enrollment swelled to 52,000 students this fall as parents worried by strike rumors sought refuge in schools like those run by the Noble Charter Network, which enjoys the deep-pocket support of many wealthy 'investors.'"
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Chicago Teachers Rip 'Big Money Interest Groups'

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 16, 2012 @08:20AM (#41351477)

    Of course they do. They hate the competition.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 16, 2012 @08:27AM (#41351507)

    "U.S. Department of Education: 79% of Chicago 8th Graders Not Proficient in Reading." Teacher evaluations are a must. It is time to get rid of the ineffective teachers that are protected by unions.

  • by TyFoN ( 12980 ) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @08:27AM (#41351513)

    Yes, it is insane to pay those who are teaching the children well.
    Much more sane to pay lobbyists a few million a year to make sure the teachers have no say in legislation.

  • Re:Abolish (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CRCulver ( 715279 ) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Sunday September 16, 2012 @08:32AM (#41351531) Homepage

    Abolish all public service labor unions.

    How do you propose to do that? The government can refuse to engage in collective bargaining with the workers, but the workers still have the right to strike if they feel they are being mistreated. Organization of labor it is simply the natural consequence of the every American's right to freely associate, and people are free to decide they will not show up for work.

    You could threaten to fire any workers who strike, but rehiring a large workforce is a costly prospect. Thus, collective bargaining is arguably the better option.

  • by salesgeek ( 263995 ) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @08:34AM (#41351545) Homepage

    ... Because that worked so well in Wisconsin. In Wisconsin, the result of the protests were:

    * The teacher's union being flat out broken. The state won.
    * A failed recall effort.
    * A complete loss of support from many parent for the teachers. Demanding more money when people are struggling is never a hit.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 16, 2012 @08:35AM (#41351555)

    They do a LOUSY job.

    "U.S. Department of Education: 79% of Chicago 8th Graders Not Proficient in Reading"

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 16, 2012 @08:38AM (#41351569)

    We need a good public school system. But I can tell you first hand that public schools aren't always best. I have kids in both public and private schools, and the private school is far better. That's one small local example, I know, but the notion that it's just big money or testing that has adversely impacted public schools is ridiculous. There are some valid points there - there should be no candy machines in lunchrooms and teaching to tests can be a problem. But tenure, a sense of entitlement, an overplayed seniority system, and general lack of accountability for unionized teachers is also a big problem. The main problem as I see it is that there is no incentive in *any* of the public school schemes I've seen to strive for excellence. Mediocrity is the high bar most teachers and schools attempt to reach, and if they even get that far they are doing well. If you do what's minimally necessary, you will get paid, you will advance, you will get summers off, and you will eventually get your nice pension at 55. Do *you* get summers off? Do *you* get to retire at 55? Do *you* get to keep your job if you just sorta, meh, show up and just do what you have to do? No way you will be a teacher at the private school I'm familiar with if you aren't trying to help your students be the best they can be. It's just like that.

    Of course public schools generally have a harder job than private schools. They have to deal with *all* the kids - including the dumb ones and the ones who parents have no concern for the quality of their kids education, for whatever reason. Parents who spend lots of money on private school generally don't do it capriciously - they care a *lot* about education and they put their money where their mouth is. So it's not completely fair to just blame lazy/stupid teachers (there are plenty of them for sure). Lazy stupid kids and their parents are equally to blame. Personally, I don't care about them. They should not be my problem or my kids problem. One way or another, public schools need to separate kids by ability and give motivated kids the chance they deserve. I know teachers and administrators who try to do that, but the system makes it very difficult.

  • Bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by m0s3m8n ( 1335861 ) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @08:39AM (#41351583)
    I grew up in a northern Wisconsin city where the teachers stuck twice times in four years . It was NEVER about the children, always about pay. Chicago is a big Democratic city, you would think there would be no issue with the citizens WANTING to raise their own property taxes to support the schools. As for charter schools, they represent competition, so of course they are evil.
  • by jhoegl ( 638955 ) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @08:40AM (#41351589)
    Meh, 16% is more than private sector raises. If they dont want that they can go to the job hunting line.
    It is really about evaluation and them not wanting to be evaluated so they can keep their job of not doing shit.
    This comes from the son of a Teacher, and family members who are teachers/went to college for teaching.
    And this comes from them as well.
  • by UPZ ( 947916 ) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @08:41AM (#41351601)
    Teaching inner city kids is no easy job. I say this as someone who volunteers in inner city schools. These teachers need to be paid adequately. However, unions may not be the best PR that teachers need right now, especially with their long track record of protecting the incompetent ones.
  • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @08:47AM (#41351643)

    Unions have a lot of money and political pull too.

    In many ways they have more political pull per dollar. Because the Unions in the US need just as much reform as the business system does.

    Why am I paying out of my paycheck to something that will use for political campaigning for a party I may or may not believe in.
    That money should be used to pay for a small staff of legal experts, and for operations. The rest of the money should be held to pay for strikers pay during a strike.

  • by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @08:48AM (#41351647)

    Yes, it is insane to pay those who are teaching the children well.
    Much more sane to pay lobbyists a few million a year to make sure the teachers have no say in legislation.

    How do you know a teacher is underpaid and overworked? Don't worry, they'll tell you.

    Idk how it is your area, but in my state, property owners pay for the bulk of the funding of the schools. My parents have their own house and a rental house, and to pay the property and much larger school tax bill on the rental property alone, they need to collect slightly over 3 months rent a year before they see a penny of revenue. It is not unusual for the school to demand and be handed 10-12 increases in budget each year. Just sustainable over the long term...

    Our teachers get paid more than they do, starting at around $40k and going up as much as $120, depending on tenure and degrees - the attainment of higher ones past bachelor's, which once hired, is also paid for. They get a pension after 20-25 years. They get the caddilac of health plans for their entire families. They get a host of sick and vacation days during the year, those days roll over into the next year and so on, and any left over at the end of their career are paid out in full. They have the summers off (mostly) and often attend a conference somewhere which is usually a 1-2 hour a day work excuse in order to go someplace nice paid for by the taxpayer. Oh, and unheard of job security. There's nothing quite so cushy in the private sector for low level employees.

    The professors in the local community college, in the same county, get much less than the HS teachers do.

    HOWEVER, I realize this is mostly taking place in the richer suburbs of America and is not everyplace. I'll grant that. But even with all that, our kids aren't doing extraordinary.

    In the words of Comptroller General David M. Walker, Healthcare and Education is where America spends way more than 1st world country, often 2x as much, for worse results and with no outcome testing of any type.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcWrdM-a_Uo [youtube.com]

  • by Chris Mattern ( 191822 ) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @08:48AM (#41351653)

    So, if teachers have so little effect on what kids learn, why are we paying them at all?

  • by LordLucless ( 582312 ) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @08:51AM (#41351679)

    A 16% increase over 4 years works out to be 4% a year, which just happens to be a little lower than the average inflation rate over the last 4 years (yes, it's lower than that at the moment). Which means, in terms of spending power, its just maintaining the status quo.

    As for "merit-based" performance metrics, they don't measure the teacher's performance; they measure the students. What that will mean is that teachers will be competing to teach the students more likely to meet the metrics. The good teachers will get those postitions, and the teachers who don't make the cut will be relegated to the difficult students. So the students who get the worst teachers, will be:
    * Poor students, who don't have access to tutors or other extra curricular methods of learning
    * Students with disinterested parents (parental involvements is one the major predictors for academic achievement)
    * Students in classes of disruptive people
    And the teachers who teach them will be stuck in a position of no advancement, because their students are consistently out-performed by other demographics.

  • by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @08:55AM (#41351705)

    merit-based suggestions

    In other words, the plan where teachers who work in tough environments where students have not decided whether they want to graduate from high school or become criminals are punished. "Merit based" evaluations of teachers are not all they are cracked up to be; teachers cannot magically affect improvement if parents and cultures are not working with them. There is also the question of what basis is used for evaluations -- do you really think scores on tests show how well teachers are doing in their classrooms?

  • by buddyglass ( 925859 ) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @08:58AM (#41351725)
    Without necessarily disagreeing with anything else you wrote...

    Do *you* get to keep your job if you just sorta, meh, show up and just do what you have to do?

    Actually, yes. In my experience most jobs are like that. You have to really suck to get fired. *Maybe* if you're just phoning it in you get to be first in line when there are layoffs. Maybe. But then only if your employer does a good job of identifying who's just phoning it in. Not all do.

  • by roman_mir ( 125474 ) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @08:59AM (#41351739) Homepage Journal

    Unions are monopoly on labour, and government does not crack down on their illegal practices clearly, especially government unions, that shouldn't even exist. If you are a government monopoly, you shouldn't have the right to unionise but even if you do have a public sector union, then you shouldn't be able to hold people hostage with a strike.

    The people in the private sector are hit pretty hard. First of all every time a union gets a pay raise, that's an involuntary pay cut for the private sector workers, most of who do not even make as much money as these public sector union employees. Interestingly enough, the proportion of people who send their kids to private schools is higher among the public school teachers, teachers are twice as likely to send their kids to private schools than the rest of the parents [washingtontimes.com]! They are more familiar with the system, so they understand that the value is just not there for the kids.

    Teachers do not want to be evaluated based on performance, that's what unions are afraid - to allow teachers to be graded (just like they grade students, nice hypocrisy right there).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 16, 2012 @09:00AM (#41351743)

    Ten posts in, and I already see the guy chomping on the high-salary-bit modded at +5. Before that becomes the focus of these posts, let me add something to reflect on.

    There is not only a very strong negative correlation between the percent of a school's low-socioeconomic-status students (measured by a school's free-and-reduced lunch rate) and test scores*, but there has proven to be causation as well. [aft.org] Now, urban Chicago has some of the highest poverty rates in the state of Illinois. Creating a system where half of a teacher's evaluation (and, ergo, the chance they keep their job) is based solely on test scores is simply setting up teachers to fail. Teachers know this; when they (or anyone else, for that matter) are put into a position where their evaluation likely will be poor, due to circumstances far beyond their control, resulting in dismissal from their job, it will negatively affect their performance in the classroom. Then, with high teacher turnaround, the quality of new hires will just suffer precipitously.

    This evaluation system was never meant or designed to improve teacher performance. It was designed to set schools up to fail. And Chicago Area Teachers have every right to stand up and stop it. Anyone who tries to complain about salaries is merely throwing a red herring into the discussion.

    * source: The Star Tribune [startribune.com]. It appears that, sadly, they removed the free-and-reduced lunch data from this year's test results. In previous years, I ran simple correlation calculations between a district's free-and-reduced lunch percentage, and the percentage of students who were proficient on the tests. The correlation coefficient was -.87 for math and -.92 for reading.

  • Slashdot (Score:2, Insightful)

    by markdavis ( 642305 ) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @09:10AM (#41351797)

    I am really struggling to figure out how this posting/article fits with Slashdot at all.

  • Do your research (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Orp ( 6583 ) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @09:11AM (#41351803) Homepage

    First of all, WTF does this have to do with tech? This is one of the most inappropriate stories for a News for Nerds site.

    But, since we're all nerds, we do our homework, right?

    Anyone who wants to engage in an informed discussion about this issue should, at the very least, read the fact finder's report:

    http://www.ctunet.com/blog/text/FactFinderCOMPLETE.pdf [ctunet.com]

    Yes, it's 80 pages long and still requires a fair amount of context.

    I am so sick and tired of idiots blathering on about (a) lazy selfish goddammed overpaid teachers or (b) without unions we'd all be working 752 days a week in sweatshops.

    I'm in a union, been down this road before, it sucked ass. I still have a love/hate relationship with unions. But unlike binary data, things in the real world are rarely black and white.

  • by Stormthirst ( 66538 ) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @09:11AM (#41351807)

    Why should public sector be any different from private sector?

    What is more democratic than voting for something to change?

    So many of your current entitlements (by which I mean safe working conditions, 8 hour days as opposed to 14 hour days, paid vacation) was won by unions. You should take a history lesson my friend!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 16, 2012 @09:11AM (#41351811)

    There are very large numbers of people waiting to get into teaching, yet the pay keeps going up. What ever happened to supply and demand?

    Well, the better question is why does the Ontario government keep subsidizing the training of enormous numbers of teachers in taxpayer-supported universities, when there is an enormous existing surplus of teachers.

    Perhaps 1 in 10 teachers graduating today from an Ontario university will be able to get a full-time teaching job after graduating.

  • by kidgenius ( 704962 ) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @09:13AM (#41351819)
    Private schools tend to pay quite poorly in comparison to public schools. That's because most of the private schools are church-based. They charge students a tuition, but they don't make back enough in tuition to cover costs 100%. Couple that with the church not being able to kick in a ton extra, and the pay is about 50-80% of the public school rate.
  • by buddyglass ( 925859 ) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @09:13AM (#41351821)

    I'd be all for evaluation if I thought it would be done right. I lack that confidence. If you just look at how a given teacher's students perform then that's not fair to the teacher, since he has no control over those students' educational experience prior to arriving in his classroom. The only objective way to evaluate individual teachers' performance would be to test students every year and measure the delta between each teacher's students over the course of the year that teacher had them. If a given teacher has 5 classes of 25 students each, and those 125 students scored, on average, at the 30th percentile at the beginning of the year, but at the 35th percentile at the end of the year, then maybe we say that teacher did a good job despite his students scoring well below the state-wide average.

    There are problems with testing students so frequently though:

    1. It's expensive.
    2. It cannibalizes classroom time.
    3. It encourages teachers to try to game the system by teaching to the test or teaching "test-taking skills" instead of their actual subject matter.
    4. It encourages teachers (and principals) to allow (or assist) their students to cheat.
    5. It's not necessarily applicable to all types of teacher. How are you going to objectively measure the effectiveness of an art teacher?

    Another way to go would be to only evaluate principals and give them more leeway to hire/fire teachers they like and use whatever in-house evaluation methods they want. Test only at school level jumps, i.e. prior to elementary, between elementary and middle, between middle and high school, then after high school. You'd want to be sure to evaluate the principals using the average percentile change of students who went through all grades at the given school. If the set of 8th graders leaving a given middle school has an average percentile rank of 50, but that same set of students averaged in the 40th percentile before starting 6th grade, maybe you give that principal a good rating. The problem here, though, is that it encourages principals to try to get kids who appear likely to regress to leave their school.

  • by Stormthirst ( 66538 ) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @09:14AM (#41351823)

    This is the most ridiculous thing I've seen in a while.

    Are you telling me scientists should have no way to determine what science policy should be?

    If the politicians aren't listening to teachers about what education policy should be, then how do politicians have an informed opinion on such things? Oh yes, that's what lobbyists are for.

  • by DarkOx ( 621550 ) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @09:31AM (#41351921) Journal

    Except that public school teachers most places are paid well. Its largely private school teachers that work for next to nothing. If you take the typical public schools teach salary and divide it out to a per month number over 9 not 12 because they don't work summers, most of them are compensated better than they would be in another field with the same credentials.

      This dispute is not really even about 'compensation' per say, its about the accountability and the tenure system. Essentially this about teachers want to keep their seniority system and the tenure system, rather than a new one which would attempt to measure than reward or punish performance.

    Virtual not other profession enjoys such a lack of accountability for the results employees achieve.

  • by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @09:41AM (#41351999)
    For nerds, education is important. We are who we are because we love to learn. As intellectuals, nerds, and geeks, we benefit from anything that improves the state of education, and we suffer from anything that is detrimental to the state of education.
  • by vlm ( 69642 ) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @09:44AM (#41352021)

    In the US, food and fuel is specifically exempted from determining the amount of inflation.

    Yes, that's exactly why that politically motivated figure is meaningless.

    If you could exist merely by purchasing iphones, for food, energy, and shelter, then the inflation figure would matter. As it is, its merely a measure of how much the govt has already decided to raise social security payments.

    We do the same game with unemployment. Someday, in the American workers paradise, none of us will have jobs anymore while reported unemployment will be 5%, and inflation will always be 2% even if the price of a cup of coffee is doubling every month.

  • by vlm ( 69642 ) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @09:53AM (#41352079)

    The average inflation over the last four years, according to the Departmen of Labor's CPI, has been somewhere around 2.5%

    He's talking about real world inflation, like how much the cost of living has increased, commodity prices that are relevant to the median person, etc. Price of food, price of gasoline, price of real estate/rent, price of sickcare insurance, etc.

    You're talking about the completely imaginary govt figure which is a statement of how much the govt has decided to increase CPI indexed transfer payments, social security, .mil pay and pensions, federal pay, etc. What the govt's willing to provide as a pay raise has no interaction what so ever with "how much stuff costs". There's a thing veneer of respectability where they exclude everything not fitting the message. So, yes, the average iphone cost plus maybe the average cost of a cedar 10 foot 2x4 maybe has only gone up 2.5%, but it doesn't "mean anything" in the real world other than SS checks and .mil paychecks are going to be 2.5% higher. What it really means is the politicians think they'll lose too many votes if they only paid out 2.4% more, but they wouldn't get enough extra votes if they paid out 2.6% more to make it worth it compared to other pork barrel expenses.

    It would be very much like if instead of arbitrary payraises at work, people we given imaginary cooked books to base their raises. Just admit its arbitrary and mostly made up.

  • by Stormthirst ( 66538 ) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @09:53AM (#41352087)

    Why are you paying money out of your pay check for wars you probably don't think you should be in? After all your tax bill would be considerably smaller if the US didn't spend more on military spending than the next 26 countries combined.

    We all pay for things we don't want, don't need or consider immoral. It's a fact of life.

  • by Bananenrepublik ( 49759 ) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @10:19AM (#41352287)

    Would you apply the same reasoning to government contractors?
    Or to the employees of the privately run cafeteria inside the Pentagon (I assume there's such a thing, it doesn't matter, you get the idea: they make all their money through the government)?
    What about government employees that own stock in companies and make more money out of that than out of their government jobs?

    Honest questions, since you don't really give many reasons for your opinion. I don't know what you're doing exactly, but why are government employees (i.e. mostly schoolteachers, policemen, firefighters) not "productive" members of society? I don't think there's much disputing that the examples I gave add value to society.

  • by Internetuser1248 ( 1787630 ) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @10:26AM (#41352341)

    If there are any restrictions corporate participation in the political process (in the name of freedom to exercise property there should not be)

    So your ideal political system is basically despotic feudalism. I don't see why property should have a say in politics.

  • by http ( 589131 ) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @10:30AM (#41352365) Homepage Journal
    Give up your franchise because you work for the government? That's novel.
    Working for the government doesn't change your citizenship. If you think that a weak argument, then consider this: you still pay taxes, and that alone normally provides a legitimate claim to a vote.
    You're one of the people who decide what agencies get funded. Even soldiers retain the vote.
  • by geoskd ( 321194 ) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @10:47AM (#41352483)

    Why? This is (or supposed to be) a free country, you should be able to join any organization you want.

    It is illegal for a group of CEOs to join an organization dedicated to fixing prices. Or did you think that was a bad idea too? Both concepts undermine competition and are bad for everyone except those in the organization.


  • by The Second Horseman ( 121958 ) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @11:03AM (#41352607)

    Yup. Competition from essentially unaccountable charter schools or private schools getting public money with little or no oversight, and under a variety of guises able to reject students with physical, mental or behavioral issues. There have been studies showing that the "new school effect" is what may account for any short-term gains in charters, and that renovating and relaunching public schools could have the same effect. Charter and private schools aren't expected to act like social service agencies, dealing with all sorts of damaged kids. The regular public schools are. And recent studies about the effects of stress on neurological development pretty much shows that these kids are being wired to fail by their environments. Poverty, home problems, crime, etc. are the actual problems.

    The motivated parents who move their kids to a new school? Those kids probably have less stress than the kids who have parents who are having more problems and aren't focusing on them. Charter/private with vouchers will lead to tons of kids being left behind.

    Please understand - the for-profits, consulting companies, etc. have NO interest in actually fixing education. Education is one of the few places where there's a lot of public money, it's staying public, and it's largely going to middle-class employees. The entire point of the reform - from the standpoint of these companies - is to siphon off a ton of that money. Their profit margin will be built by lowering wages - leading to lower-quality teachers over time - and eventually making the whole thing even worse.

    I halfway expect to see some of these for-profit companies running juvenile detention facilities soon as well. They make money either way if they do.

  • by Intrepid imaginaut ( 1970940 ) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @11:39AM (#41352915)

    Public sector unions are in a unique position whereby their members operate important or vital national infrastructure. The police in many places are forbidden to go on strike, in recognition of this fact. The bottom line is that if you have unions with often effectively unsackable members in charge of things like water and power, you're going to get bent over a barrel.

  • by iceborer ( 684929 ) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @12:05PM (#41353127)

    It is illegal for a group of CEOs to join an organization dedicated to fixing prices. Or did you think that was a bad idea too? Both concepts undermine competition and are bad for everyone except those in the organization.

    Nice straw man, but you unintentionally pointed to exactly the right comparison. CEOs head organizations which are comprised of many people gathering together to obtain mutual benefit, namely pooled resources that allow members of the organization to engage in activities and reap benefits that they could not individually. These folks all gather together to have greater bargaining power in the market. We even privilege these collectivist organizations under law by providing the individual members immunity for the (negative) actions of the organization.

  • by geoskd ( 321194 ) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @12:20PM (#41353251)

    It is illegal for a group of CEOs to join an organization dedicated to fixing prices. Or did you think that was a bad idea too? Both concepts undermine competition and are bad for everyone except those in the organization.

    Nice straw man, but you unintentionally pointed to exactly the right comparison. CEOs head organizations which are comprised of many people gathering together to obtain mutual benefit, namely pooled resources that allow members of the organization to engage in activities and reap benefits that they could not individually. These folks all gather together to have greater bargaining power in the market. We even privilege these collectivist organizations under law by providing the individual members immunity for the (negative) actions of the organization.

    The point wasn't that all organizations are bad and / or should be illegal, it was that not all organizations should be tolerated / legal. I can come up with lots of organizations that are good, or at least innocuous too. I was giving an example of an organization that was bad for the same reasons that unions are bad. That doesn't mean that unions don't have their uses, just that all else being equal, they are bad for everyone who is not in the union, including joe average citizen. Unions are not victimless, and some of their behavior should be a crime.


  • by StillAnonymous ( 595680 ) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @12:32PM (#41353355)

    Public unions should not be permitted because these guys are sitting on both sides of the bargaining table. They have massive clout and can influence local elections. This means they'll get a sympathetic ear elected, and when it comes time for contract negotiations, it's them and the guy they basically put in charge.

    You can see how this turns out. Public unions reaping all sorts of benefits that aren't found in the private sector, cities literally bankrupt yet still being coerced into giving public employees raises.

    Who represents the taxpayer in all this? Nobody, that's who. The main entity that funds all of this doesn't get say, and that's why it should be prohibited for public employees to collectively bargain.

  • by fustakrakich ( 1673220 ) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @12:33PM (#41353373) Journal

    The unions are just another corporation, like any other. Specifically, they are a commodities brokerage. Their commodity is human labor. This is capitalism how it was meant to be, competition amongst various business interests, all seeking special favors and protections from the authorities (which, on the face of it, is kinda wag the dog, since the authorities exist to serve them, and can be easily replaced). The ancillary benefits to the commodity is nice and all, but it's just designed to keep the product fresh. Pump it full of antibiotics and fertilizer, and 500 TV channels, and it will provide many years of reliable service. Damn near as long as a typewriter. But let's not dismiss the idea of organized labor. It sells. Whether it's intentional or not, it pushes back at abuses from the factory owners, while also forming gangs to shake down the completion. What are you gonna do? When people smell money, this is how they act. There is no 'socialism'. It's just business. If you want to pick sides, well, that's up to you. To me it's just a tiny part of the eternal battle for domination.

  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @12:55PM (#41353549)
    either that or you're one of their shills (possible, but apologies if you're not since people hate being accused of that).

    The rich learned long ago that the best way to stay in power and keep all the money was to pit groups of people against each other. Traditionally this is done with racial or cultural boundaries. Black/white, Christian/Islam, etc, etc. But since they've been globalizing the economy to take advantage of all that cheap labor they've got a problem. They're having a hard time keeping us segregated, and keeping a single large voting block they can count on. The "Southern Strategy" is breaking down.

    So they're sicking you on public employees. They don't really have it that good, it's just that after 30 years of lower wages and longer work hours their lives look like heaven. That's the trap. You're too busy asking, why do those guys have food, shelter and health care? to ask "Hey, why don't I have those things?".
  • by ohnocitizen ( 1951674 ) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @01:48PM (#41353977)
    There are wonderful teachers who avoid teaching because of sentiments like this. I'm sorry, I'm not interested in entering a toxic work culture where I am demonized by the press, politicians, and parents. Where people on the outside lust over taking away my job security, and where my salary is a race to the bottom of supply and demand. Listen, if you want to restrict pay raises for public school teachers, great, go for it. Divide the country even further along class lines and support private charter schools without the salary restrictions, who snap up the most passionate, brilliant instructors.

    That is a foul harvest to reap.
  • by Dexter Herbivore ( 1322345 ) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @02:16PM (#41354291) Journal

    Of course, I don't even know that unions serve a real purpose, anymore. We no longer employ twelve year old kids for sixteen hours a day in dangerous machine shops for a nickel an hour and anyone who has been wronged can seek out legal representation.

    How do you think we got those rights? How are we supposed to maintain them? There has to be a balance, no excess of power on either the amployer's side or the worker's side.

  • by BlueStrat ( 756137 ) on Sunday September 16, 2012 @04:06PM (#41355483)

    Then move to a 'Right to Work' state. There are plenty of them where you don't have to join a union if you don't want to.

    All states should be right-to-work states. Being forced to pay protection money to hold a job is the type of thing the Mob does. Mandatory union membership has no place in today's world of massive amounts of government labor laws and regulations protecting worker safety and rights. Whether or not labor unions helped bring about those protections doesn't matter. The protections are there now, and public sector labor unions are without purpose other than to soak the taxpayer and gain political power & influence for their leaders.

    Public sector unions should be outlawed. Both because they place essential services provided by government at risk from strikes, and because the taxpayers who pay the union wages & benefits have no say in how much the unions get, it's between the union and the politician they helped elect. It's two wolves and a sheep voting on what's for lunch, without the sheep being allowed a vote. It's corruption incarnate.


  • by BlueStrat ( 756137 ) on Monday September 17, 2012 @12:46AM (#41359017)

    Apparently the unions with their people "on the ground", bags of cash, and their purchased elected officials in several states disagree with your viewpoint, and are free to set things up how they like.


    And s I already pointed out in another thread, your second reason for them being outlawed is seriously flawed.

    How is it "seriously flawed" that unions have a long history of backing politicians in exchange for favorable treatment at the expense of the taxpayer? Have you been asleep for the last six decades or more, or have you never learned any history except what people with an agenda have told you?

    Elected officials in several states just took away a lot of power from Teachers/Police/Fire unions.

    Yes, for the first time in a long time. And it was so alarming and unexpected, the unions outside of Wisconsin threw massive amounts of money and resources into the fight precisely to prevent this setting a new precedent.

    Have you seen Detroit recently? I'm not far away and get to see the damage unions and the corrupt politicians.they own have inflicted. I've watched it happen first-hand over the last 50+ years. I hate it. My aunt and her family used to live there in what was once a nice lower-middle-income suburban neighborhood that now has packs of feral dogs out in daylight and the occasional black or brown bear wandering through. That's not exaggeration. There are YT videos.

    The rest of the state isn't all that much better, with several large municipalities having state-appointed emergency financial managers taking over all authority for spending and the budget because the corruption and union favoritism and cronyism have bankrupted them.

    Want things to go the other way? Convince other voters to vote your way.

    How many times does it take? Seems like there are a lot of judges and other politicians and unions across the nation that don't want the voter's will carried out when it doesn't go their way. How far do they go in fighting the decision of the voters before you can say they want to disenfranchise the voters by making their vote meaningless? How many injunctions? How many failed recalls? How many legislators on the lamb in another state to avoid losing a vote?


He: Let's end it all, bequeathin' our brains to science. She: What?!? Science got enough trouble with their OWN brains. -- Walt Kelly