Union Bosses Care More about Collective Bargaining than Students

In Massachusetts and Louisiana, union bosses’ recent actions indicate collective bargaining privileges and lavish contracts are their number one priority.

First in Massachusetts, the AFL-CIO and American Federation of Teachers linked up to combat so-called “divisive” legislation that proposes to introduce merit-based pay over tenure to determine hiring practices for public school teachers.

The Boston Globe reports:

The Massachusetts chapter of the AFL-CIO, the state’s largest organized labor group, issued a statement in support of the AFT, predicting a “fight” on Beacon Hill to defeat the bill should legislative leaders seek to advance it.

“We will stand strong with AFTMA in a shared fight to defeat the legislation and its attack on collective bargaining rights for teachers,” read the statement issued by the AFL-CIO, which is led by former state Sen. Steven Tolman. “We urge all legislators not to turn the clock back on the real progress made by our experienced, unionized teachers in Massachusetts public schools whose professionalism and experience gained through seniority deliver the top educational achievements in the country and the western world.”

Essentially, Big Labor and union bosses in Massachusetts prefer to fight legislation that removes low-performing teachers from the classroom than concede any collective bargaining privileges, which are frequently abused. Sadly, if the legislation is not passed through the state legislature, the merit-based pay initiative will be put on the November ballot; meaning AFL-CIO and AFT will likely spend millions of dollars in teachers’ union dues, originating from Massachusetts taxpayers, to fight a ballot initiative that benefits students.

Similarly in Louisiana, teachers unions filed lawsuits against recent education reform measures. One lawsuit is against charter schools and the other against merit-based pay legislation.

The Times-Picayune reports:

One of the lawsuits filed Thursday argues that a newly approved voucher program violates the state Constitution by letting public money flow to nonpublic schools. A second lawsuit attacks fundamental changes in teacher tenure rules by focusing on constitutional questions about the construction of the bills and amendments.

But local Louisiana school board member James Garvey’s comments expose Big Labor’s motives and priorities:

“I think that it is a shame that the Jefferson Federation of Teachers is using the money that they collect from their hard working teachers, through their union dues, to pay for prosecuting these lawsuits,” Garvey wrote in a statement he released Friday.

“The injunctions that the JFT is seeking in connection with these cases would suspend the new laws that, among other things, would allow superintendents to use teacher effectiveness, instead of teacher seniority, in deciding how teachers are assigned to classrooms,” Garvey wrote. “I don’t think that making seniority the basis for assigning a teacher to a classroom was the result that Jefferson’s hard working teachers were seeking in paying their dues to the JFT.”

On the voucher lawsuit, he wrote, “Most of these families cannot afford to move to the areas of Jefferson in which they would be assigned to a non-failing school. It is not right to leave these students stuck in a failing school without at least giving them the choices that are provided in the new laws.”

Unfortunately for students everywhere, union bosses will continue to wield their power over taxpayer funds and education until government union collective bargaining is viewed as privilege, not a right.