Teacher union officials may be happy when they lead strikes and have their demands fulfilled by school boards, but it turns out it’s not only the students who suffer when school administrators bow to union official monopoly bargaining demands. National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation Vice President Patrick Semmens comments on the situation. Here are some recent examples:
The ‘successful’ teachers’ strikes in Denver, Oakland and elsewhere that have made headlines are leaving a wake of layoffs as districts are left to contend with the costs.
In the State of Washington, the Puyallup School District will be increasing class sizes and making reductions to its workforce for the 2019-20 school year in order to pay teachers’ increased salaries that were fought for last year.
As teachers across the nation continue to push for higher salaries and school districts agree to those demands, school budgets become strained. As a result, cuts seem inevitable.
Other labor watchdogs are concerned that the spread of strikes will distort public policy. School officials are held accountable by city residents, while union officials only have to respond to their members. Patrick Semmens, spokesman for the National Right to Work Foundation, said union officials are focused solely on the paychecks of dues payers, rather than taxpayers or non-union education workers. When districts do not push back, they will have to make cuts elsewhere.
“These cuts demonstrate the danger of letting union bosses dictate education policy by using strikes to hold the public hostage,” Semmens said.
School cancellations and other disruptions associated with walkouts generate public pressure on district officials or other elected policy makers, rather than union bosses. Semmens pointed to West Virginia, the site of two statewide teachers strikes in the past three years. Public officials killed education reform legislation to placate union demands. Striking has given union officials veto power of how the education system is run, according to Semmens.
“Elected officials who are accountable to voters should be the ones determining how tax dollars are allocated in the public education system, not teacher union officials who always put their own power ahead what’s best for students,” he said.
Hundreds of Oakland school clerks, library workers and other staff will receive layoff notices in coming weeks as the school district grapples with the expense of the contract concessions that settled the seven-day teachers strike this month, the school board has decided.
When Tacoma Schools leaders reached an agreement with teachers to end a week-long strike last month, they warned that big budget cuts likely would follow.
The first phase of those cuts — amounting to $10 million — has arrived.
To accomplish them, the district has eliminated 19 administrative positions. Five of the employees whose positions were dropped will fill vacancies elsewhere in the district, while eight were transferred to non-administrative jobs.