Wednesday, August 1, 2012

To Be or Not to Be: Teacher Unions

When I first became a teacher in California it was at a school that didn't have a union.  It was a smaller district.  We had a group of teachers that was our negotiations committee. They met with our Superintendent, principal, and a board member or two.

They had some long nights.  They respectfully worked together coming up with compromises and thoughtful solutions to whatever the budget woes were.  We had a workable contract for the next year -- before the end of the school year. We kicked in money to buy them all dinner once they were done.  Ta da! Neat and easy and move on with the job at hand...educating our kids.

Well, then I moved to the Inland Northwest.  I never was a member of the union in Washington.  I did lots of long term subbing...but never long enough to have to put a toe into the union pond.

Moving to Idaho and getting a job brought me into the Union's den.  I joined up.  Not because I was excited about being a member of a union.  I already felt a kinship with my fellow teachers.  Not because of the amazing deals and discounts that you get as a member of a union...I haven't used a single opportunity that they have offered.  Every deal I have gotten has been because I'm a teacher--not because I'm a member of a union.

But because of the 'protection' you get from a union.  Yes, I'm picturing those Chicago style gangsters right about now, aren't you?

"Hey Joey, that parent over there just yelled at that teacher.  You wanna take care of dis one or should I?"

LOL...just kidding.

In this day and age of suing because McDonalds makes their coffee too hot...or Justin Bieber's music was too loud at his concert...you have to be careful.

So I joined up.

But then the Luna-cy Laws happened in Idaho.

Among other drastic changes to supposedly improve education, all unions lost their powers of negotiation. They were basically rendered to be so powerless that it makes the Girl Scouts Council look stronger!   They put the power in the hands of the school's Administration--and teachers' futures at their whim.

This didn't just kill the teacher's unions but all unions--firemen, police, etc.

So in November, in Idaho, the people of Idaho are going to get their chance to strike down the Luna-cy Laws.  If you want to be educated on why you might want to consider voting No on 1,2,3...check out this link:  NOon123

I'm not telling you to vote no, but I hope you educate yourself a bit before you swallow the rubbish that is out there about why it is a good thing.

Unions...I'm still not decided as to whether I will continue with them this year.  I did not see the support for teachers in a couple situations over the last few years, one in which included myself.  The local union representative's attitude in these situations appeared that they were more interested in supporting the union and that they were trying not to ruffle any administrative feathers--at the cost of not supporting teachers.

I am actually considering moving on to another organization called Northwest Professional Educators:  NWPE.org.  It is cheaper, still tax deductible and gives me the nuts and bolts of what I'm looking for--support in my profession.

If you have any thoughts or feedback about unions, please let me know what you think.  I have given them 4 years to try and prove their worth to me and my faith has done nothing but fade.