Don’t confuse Wisconsin’s public employees unions with the average working stiff. I can be fired for incompetence, unlike public school teachers. My benefits are nowhere near as sweet. And, like many private sector workers, I’ve gone years without a raise.
Why should public employees be immune? And when will the teacher’s unions be held accountable for routinely placing self-interest over education?
Meanwhile, some Wisconsin teachers decided to make a mockery of their own profession by penalizing their students after an irresponsible call to action by Mary Bell, the chief of the state teachers union.
“On Thursday and Friday, we are asking Wisconsinites to come to Madison,” Bell, president of the Wisconsin Education Association Council, said Wednesday. She then claimed disingenuously that she wasn’t telling the union’s 98,000 teachers to walk off their jobs.
Unfortunately, that’s what many of them did. There were no classes in Madison schools. Port Washington High School had to close. The same was true at other schools around the state. Do these teachers care more about their jobs than their kids? We wonder.
Joe Klein nails the self-serving, anti-democratic Wisconsin protests.
Governor Scott Walker’s basic requests are modest ones–asking public employees to contribute more to their pension and health care plans, though still far less than most private sector employees do. He is also trying to limit the unions’ abilities to negotiate work rules–and this is crucial when it comes to the more efficient operation of government in a difficult time. When I covered local government in New York 30 years ago, the school janitors (then paid a robust $60,000 plus per year) had negotiated the “right” to mop the cafeteria floors only once a week. And we all know about the near-impossibility of getting criminal and morally questionable–to say nothing of less than competent–teachers fired. The negotiation of such contracts were acts of collusion rather than of mediation. Government officials were, in effect, bribing their most activist constituents.