I heard from a close friend about my last post. He wrote that unions have served – and continue to serve – an important purpose in America. He observes, however, that the ethic of unions has changed: “I believe unions served a critical purpose. Unfortunately, that purpose has begun to replicate the very greed and heartlessness that inaugurated them. Look at the auto industry.”
We are talking about a teachers union. Teachers teach. They serve as role models for our students. And yet look at the image that is being projected by them as they strike: they are degrading and demeaning to anyone who disagrees; they disrupt traffic; they close streets; they use angry slogans; they have a 20 foot inflatable rat outside of school headquarters; look at and listen to their spokespersons. And witness the demands. Mercy! Maybe it is that teachers unions have devolved and descended into that disappointing abyss of entertainers and professional athletes who simply “don’t care” that they are role models to young people. It’s become obvious that education is not their primary interest. But is it too much to ask for teachers to behave?
What we need is respectful and ethical people on both sides. Employers paying fair wages and workers making reasonable demands — and knowing what “fair” means.