SCANLON: Teachers unions will pay for Chicago strike
Capitol Research Director Terrence Scanlon’s hard-hitting analysis of the Chicago teacher strike predicts the event will hurry the demise of teacher unions.
He does not mention, however, the fact that teachers (including Chicago ones) are living through the same “slavery” Chicago teacher Annie Hudson did 30 years ago when she was forced to pay dues to the Chicago Teachers Union. Annie Hudson stood up to the union and won some relief. Today Chicago teachers are still forced to strike or lose their jobs, forced to accept unwanted representation.
They can, if not actively picket, sit at home while they’d rather be working. With the help of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation attorneys, Annie Hudson took her case clear to the Supreme Court, and the eponymous decision is a standard behind which these teachers today can still rally and demand something from the union: freedom to represent themselves.
The strike was about power, and maintaining it at all costs. Power over teachers, students, parents, the school board, the city. The strike was about AFT officials’ brandishing this power they’ve ruthlessly torn from the public over the past 50 years, and parading their captives on the streets, like Roman emperors of old. AFT officials keep this power and show it off for one reason only: because the teachers, parents, the school board, the city, all allow them to do it.
The AFT has a “proud” history of strikes. Founder Al Shanker shouted the battle cry in 1973, proclaiming, “. . . by and large a strike in the public sector is not economic – it is political. . . One of the greatest reasons for the effectiveness of the public employees’ strike is the fact that it is illegal.” (Albert Shanker, Monthly Labor Review, September, 1973.)
The editorial appears in the Washington Times:
In fact, perhaps no offer from the city could have prevented the strike. Union President Karen Lewis is a firebrand, elected on her promise to get tough with the city. Last October at a meeting of Northwest Teachers for Social Justice, she ridiculed Education Secretary Arne Duncan: “Now, you know, [Duncan] went to private school ‘cause if he had gone to public school he would have had that lisp fixed,” she sneered. “I know — that was ugly, wasn’t it?” Many observers think Ms. Lewis is angling to become a national figure. If her allies perceive the strike as a success, it will make her a leading opponent of reform.