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Thursday, February 24, 2011

“When school children start paying union dues, that’s when I’ll start representing the interests of school children.”

The title above is a quote from Al Shanker.  He spoke these words when he was the president of the American Federation of TEACHERS.  You know them.  They are the folks who are letting schoolchildren twist in the wind, having deserted their posts in Wisconsin's schools to protest in Madison, Wisconsin, because they are only doing it for the kids.  They have the audacity to claim that they abandoned the children for the good of those children.  Sounds quite a lot like the old lie that "this is going to hurt me more than it does you."

However, this sort of avariciousness should be expected from the leaders of an organization that exists solely for the purpose of extorting money from the public.  From the federal level all the way down to local county school boards, these bureaucrats have their grabby little hands in the pockets of those who actually pay taxes.  Perhaps it is at the local level that they are most furtive, devious, and greedy.  How expedient is it for them that school boards are comprised almost exclusively of members, or former members, of the National Education Association, AFT, or their ideological brethren?

School board members are responsible to negotiate in good faith with teachers' unions on behalf of taxpayers.  Education union members on local school boards negotiate compensation packages with fellow union members and the public pays the bill, including board members' salaries.  One might conclude that there are very good reasons that the compliant and complicit media has paid so little attention to what seems a blatant conflict of interest.  Electing their own bosses is good work if you can get it.  So firmly entrenched, arrogant, and untouchable are these education guilds that they have even published a manual, entitled "Electing Your Employer," that describes the process in detail.

This article raises some salient points.  "There’s a dirty little secret in public school governance: for a few thousand dollars, unions can run the table. How? Elect the school board. Then, at negotiation time, they’re sitting across the bargaining table from their friends.

Who is looking out for taxpayers? In far too many school districts, no one. The inmates are running the asylum."  County commissioners could enact laws to require that before becoming school board members, candidates must wait five years after leaving teaching or ending their union affiliation.  The absence of such laws could be directly related to the volume of campaign contributions from government education unions' members.

However, people are starting to push back against union-controlled, government-run schools.  "Some have proposed banning unions from giving campaign contributions to those that would oversee collective bargaining agreements." That’s a good move.

The union in Michigan has brazenly gone so far as to actually initiate recall campaigns to take out board members who don’t see things the 'union way.' It’s right out of the Jimmy Hoffa handbook.

And if there’s a reform-minded, troublesome superintendent? Take over the board and fire him!"

It is time to disenfranchise public unions since one primary reason for their existence is to act as money launderers for corrupt politicians.  Jonah Goldberg writes that "[t]raditional, private-sector unions were born out of an often-bloody adversarial relationship between labor and management.  Government unions have no such narrative on their side. Do you recall the Great DMV cave-in of 1959? How about the travails of second-grade teachers recounted in Upton Sinclair's famous schoolhouse sequel to "The Jungle"? No? Don't feel bad, because no such horror stories exist.

The argument for public unionization wasn't moral, economic or intellectual. It was rankly political.  The plan worked perfectly -- too perfectly. Public union membership skyrocketed, and government union support for the party of government skyrocketed with it. From 1989 to 2004, AFSCME -- the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees -- gave nearly $40 million to candidates in federal elections, with 98.5 percent going to Democrats, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Why would local government unions give so much in federal elections? Because government workers have an inherent interest in boosting the amount of federal tax dollars their local governments get. Put simply, people in the government business support the party of government. Which is why, as the Manhattan Institute's Steven Malanga has been chronicling for years, public unions are the country's foremost advocates for increased taxes at all levels of government.

This is why FDR believed that "the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service," and why even George Meany, the first head of the AFL-CIO, held that it was "impossible to bargain collectively with the government."

So what can taxpayers do to protect themselves from Corruptocrats and their lackeys in education unions?  Support candidates at the federal, state, and local levels who favor disenfranchising education collectives; become involved in local school board election campaigns, and learn where candidates get their money; attend school board meetings; support everyone who wants to eliminate public sector unions.  Remember the words of Tip O'Neil: "All politics is local."

May your gods be with you.

1 comment:

  1. I have heard this quote many times but can find no proof or source what so ever for it. Personally it sounds made up to me, and common sense tells me that even had this gentleman felt this way, (there is absolutely no proof he did" He wouldn't say something like this, it would be bad for business.

    All I'm saying is check your sources, near as I can tell Joe Klein made it up.


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