Some teacher union members in Chicago are getting some extra money, and their union is furious. Rahm Emanuel, Chicago’s new Mayor, is doing a unique style of union busting. Instead of making a huge political fight out of his plans similar to what Governor Scott Walker did with public unions in Wisconsin, Emanuel decided to make cash offers to teachers, and the gamble paid off.
Is this the new style of union busting?
Emanuel is making a simple pitch to teachers. He’ll give them more money for teaching longer hours. Chicago’s elementary schools don’t match up well to other cities, and Emanuel figures the solution is to extend the school day and get the students more instruction time.
Rather than engage the unions in protracted fights about pay and hours, Emanuel offered each teacher a cash incentive to take on extra responsibility and teach more. It’s no surprise that many have taken him up on the offer. The net effect is that Emanuel gets his classroom instruction and teachers get more money.
That should have eliminated the problems, but the realm of arcane union philosophies doesn’t allow for innovation. And now Emanuel is being attacked for his plans. It should come as no surprise.
Teacher Union goes on the offensive.
So teachers are getting more money. The union should be happy about that, since the city is volunteering taxpayer dollars to compensate for the extra time. It works out well for everyone except the taxpayers with no children, or children in private schools or other options. What does the teacher union say about the deal?
“It’s a nightmare,” says Karen Lewis, the president of the teacher’s union in Chicago. And she goes on to push the argument that Emanuel is in some way behaving like a Republican. If he is, in the current political climate, that’s a good thing for him. Unions draw controversy for and against. Who’s going to bash teachers for getting some extra money while they can?
Is it all Emanuel’s fault?
Obviously, it isn’t. He’s trying to fix a problem. And the union had years before Emanuel arrived to fix the problem with his predecessors. They didn’t.
And the teacher union isn’t publicly going after the teachers either. That’s a good plan. It might draw attention to how “fat cats” at the top of the union food chain look out for themselves at the expense of teachers and students. Even if they protest otherwise.
The forceful fact in all of this is that market forces are winning. The teachers want more money and parents want more education. Both get what they want without a middle team to siphon off more tax money. That might be the future of labor negotiations, if America is lucky.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
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