Last Tuesday Milwaukee’s school board proposed a side deal to the teacher union. The proposal asked the teachers to pay for 5.6% of their pension and in return 200 teacher jobs would be saved. The response from the union was a predictable no, and now 200 hard-working teachers that the union is supposed to protect will be out of a job. What needs to be mentioned here is the fact the current teacher contract expires in 2013, at which point this concession will be mandatory under the new laws of Wisconsin. All the union is doing in this case is delaying the inevitable and costing 200 of their members their jobs. Gee, where do I sign up to become a member.
There are several underlying factors that go into the union’s decision. Perhaps they are hoping for a change in the law. Maybe they believe that the school board is playing poker and they are calling their bluff. Maybe the six figure income union leaders are realizing that their days of eating away at the public trough is over and they are just trying to squeeze as much as they can before they are forced to go away. Whatever the reason it certainly doesn’t seems like they are doing it for the teachers or for that matter, the students, who will now be herded into larger classes with fewer resources available to them. This in itself would be tragic. The fact that this is all in the name of protecting union power makes it practically criminal.
The real question is where are all the common sense teachers out there? I know you exist. Are you ok with sacrificing 200 of your fellow teachers to save a few bucks? Do you realize that even after all the concessions, you still have a wonderful retirement program that us in the private sector would die for? Are you ok with teaching larger classes with fewer resources? Do you believe you can give our children the education they deserve in such an environment? Do you realize that your union has hijacked you and is using your career as a pawn in a game it cannot win? 2013 will come soon enough and with it will come the changes anyway so why not agree to them now and save the jobs for you and the resources for the children you proclaim to care so much about. Your union has failed you, but doesn’t mean you have to fail your students. Speak up now or forever hold your regret.