Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Debate About Union Membership

Via this week's Carnival of Education I came upon this post by a teacher who supports union membership. The debate comes in the comments which, unfortunately, are posted "last one on top" so you have to read from the bottom to get a linear sense of the conversation.

2 comments:

mazenko said...

As a teacher in Colorado, I am not in my union, nor do I have to be. That's after coming from Illinois where I had no option. Currently, I don't belong because, as I've told the union, I use the money I would pay them to make up for the lousy health care benefits they negotiate.

However, if the union were in danger of disappearing, I'd join in a minute and I'd become heavily involved, as Tom notes. There was an interesting debate on this at Jay Greene's site as well, and the discussion clearly outlined the very utilitarian nature of unions.

http://jaypgreene.com/2009/06/01/liberating-learning/#comments

They have a simple reason to be, and that is the negotiation of the best deal for the members. And, there's little way to argue against collective bargaining, as it has been very good for this country.

Beyond the negotiation of the contract and legal defense, there is much to criticize about the additional activities of the unions. Though these are national, not local issues. I've known few locals who want more than a fair contract, and I know of few groups of teachers who would bond together to protect bad teachers. However, the time the locals need the national unions can lead to somewhat of an unholy alliance.

Darren said...

I have no problems with local unions and collective bargaining. I would be a member of my local union IF I WERE ALLOWED TO BE. However, since you must be a member of the state and national unions if you are a member of the local, and I *will not* be a member of the state and national unions, I won't join at all.

If unions focused solely on my pay, benefits, and working conditions, I'd probably have no concerns. However, their left-wing politics sicken me. You can have 'em.