I don't have any heartburn with this.
But Darren, you say, this is a union activity! I don't have a problem with union activities, I have a problem with being compelled to financially support a union. I believe that people should be allowed to form and join unions if they want to, and to act like blue collar workers if they want to. They'll reap what they sow, however, when they later turn around and want to be treated like professionals.
The comment I often hear/read when it comes to teachers and union activities is that teachers shouldn't do anything that might hurt students. In my district during "rough" negotiations a few years ago, for example, we were chastised for refusing to sponsor school clubs, which is an unpaid activity. That hurts students. Picketing in front of schools makes students "uneasy".
This is crap.
As much as I care about my students, I care about my own son even more. I'm not going to put myself out for your kid while my kid has to do without. That's the argument I would use against someone who says that teachers shouldn't protest or complain--and I say that as someone who doesn't support many union tactics and some teacher complaints.
But let's be honest. Teachers aren't "using kids" when we, for example, refuse to sponsor clubs. We're refusing to do extra work for free. It's unfortunate that kids are "caught in the crossfire", so to speak, but we're not setting out intentionally to hurt kids during such protests--any more than the district is intentionally hurting my kid by not giving me a raise this year. It just happens.