Friday, February 11, 2011

Minnesota's Assault on Teachers Unions

Huck/Konopacki Labor Cartoons
The Minnesota Senate has approved a two-year salary freeze for teachers in public and charter schools, supposedly to avert mass layoffs. The bill also prohibits any school employee from striking over the freeze. More to the point, the bill undermines teachers’ right to collectively negotiate their contract directly with their districts.

While many teachers unions across the country are voluntarily accepting pay freezes, and while this is terrible for teachers, at least they are making this decision collectively, with the support of their members and not having it shoved down their throats by the state. It is a dangerous precedent for the state to impose compensation or working condition on workers as it violates the entire basis for collective bargaining and opens the door to greater violations of teachers’ rights. For example, if the state can override teachers’ contracts on salary, why couldn’t it take away the right to strike (as the Illinois legislature attempted to do), or abolish seniority rights or tenure? This could be seen as one step toward completely crushing the unions.

A similar attack on collective bargaining recently occurred in LAUSD, with the support of the ACLU and more of the same are likely as a slimy backdoor way to weaken unions. If they can’t outright abolish them, they can chip away until there is nothing of value left. Of course, if the unions don’t fight back with all they’ve got, then perhaps the value has already been sapped out.


  1. People don't want to spend an extra 10,000 a year for a teacher who has a masters degree and implements best practices, but we will spend an extra 30,000 to keep a kid who fell through the cracks in prison.

  2. Union leaders have abused the system. There is no universal right to bargain. Every state that is in deep deficit has extreme union pushed benefits that could never be met. If unions are so great then why do they insist that school districts automatically deduct dues from teacher's checks each month vs. billing the member so the member can write a check out each month? because then teachers would see the fallacy of unions and begin to wake up and question HOW their dues are spent for political lobbying and lining the leaders' pockets. Union leaders do not care about members other than to collect the dues received.Unions have caused more private employers to close down business and that_ causes more unemployment. Look at Detroit city_ a wasteland of neglect and poverty brought on by huge social engineering by the liberals. Now look at the city of Dallas, TX get the picture yet?

  3. You are absolutely right that union leaders have abused the system and their members. And you are right that they waste members' dues on political lobbying. And you are even right that there is no universal right to bargain.

    However, there are no universal rights of any kind. The only way anyone gets any kind of respect or rights or benefits is by fighting, not as individuals, but collectively. Unions are a way to fight collectively, but it is a fight that must be fought at the grassroots, with member participation, not mandated from the top down, for the benefit of the leaders.

    On the other hand, if private businesses can't afford to pay a decent wage and can't afford to keep their business running without exploiting people, then screw them. They aren't doing society any good by staying in business. They're parasites. Let them go under. All the recent tax cuts and subsidies have lowered living standards for working Americans, but they haven't forced employers to start hiring. It's a delusion that to believe that helping business helps working folks. All it does is make the rich rich and the poor poorer. The bosses and the workers have nothing in common. It's time we all recognize this historical truth, embrace it, and start dismantling the class system entirely!