Teachers teach and unions representing teachers work to get teachers more money and better working conditions.
Kids aren't part of the negotiating equation, regardless of what union officials say. That's because kids and their parents are the "product" and the "customers," respectively.
Meanwhile, taxpayers are the owners and the payers. Purportedly they are represented at the bargaining table by the government officials, their supposed public servants.
My view is the whole public sector union thing is nuts, letting teachers unions stop the education of our children and letting the reachers unions hold their fellow citizens and taxpayers hostage to the process.
If government officials pay teachers more, they'll either have to ask taxpayers to pay more, pay other government workers less or provide fewer other public services.
All that said, teachers in Chicago are going on strike this morning. I expect that it won't be a, long one, but it will be disruptive, unnecessary and ill advised. Chicago Teachers Say They Will Strike has the story:
"Chicago public school teachers were set to go on strike Monday, canceling
classes in the nation's third largest school system, after marathon contract
talks with city officials ended Sunday night without a deal.
The teachers' strike is the first in Chicago in a quarter century and the
first in a big U.S. urban district since one in Detroit in 2006. It follows
months of acrimony between the Chicago Teachers Union and Chicago Mayor Rahm
The city has canceled classes for some 350,000 students, though about 144 of
its 681 schools were scheduled to open Monday, staffed by district workers, to
provide breakfast, lunch and basic activities.
Karen Lewis, head of the Chicago Teachers Union, said teachers will hit the
picket lines Monday and said it was a "difficult decision and one we'd hoped to
She said the two sides weren't far apart on wages, but said they couldn't
reach agreement on a host of other issues, including health benefits and the new
teacher evaluation system.
David Vitale, president of the Chicago Board of Education, who was at the
negotiating table said the city offered teachers a 3% raise the first year and
2% annually for the next three years—which would cost the city about $400
"We believe we have been as responsive as we know how and within our
financial capability," he said during a late-night news conference. "This is not
a small commitment at a time when our financial situation is challenged."
The conflict comes amid broader tension during the economic downturn between
public-sector unions and state and local governments trying to plug budget gaps.
The Chicago battle has pitted Ms. Lewis, one of the country's抯 most vocal
labor leaders, against Mr. Emanuel, one of its most prominent mayors and the
former White House chief of staff for President Barack Obama. The Democratic
mayor has made efforts to overhaul the city's public education a centerpiece of
This is "a fight between old labor and new Democrats who support education
reform and it has been brewing for a long time in cities across the country,"
said Tim Knowles, director of the Urban Education Institute at the University of
Chicago, which conducts research on Chicago schools.
The two sides have negotiated for months over issues including wages,
health-care benefits and job security.
The union didn't publicly state its recent salary demands but had initially
asked for 19% in the first year. The average Chicago teacher salary is about
Chicago teachers were slated to receive a 4% raise last school year, but the
school board rescinded it, noting the district's $712 million deficit.
Despite that move, Chicago teachers received total wage increases of 19% to
46% during their 2007-12 contract, depending on factors such as how long they'd
served, according to an independent fact-finder's report issued in July."
Chicago is out of money. So is the rest of Illinois.
The union wants more money. So does America and its cities, states and nation as a whole.
So why don't we just all go on strike and protest the fact that as a country we've run ourselves out of money by borrowing and spending far too much over the years?
And let our kids and fellow taxpayers continue to suffer for it.
Oh, I forgot. If we all go on strike, who will we be striking against? Ourselves or our kids and grandkids?
It's time to deal with our problems.
Stay tuned. Bob