I'll leave off the table for a moment how weak, disorganized, and ineffective our local union currently is. When I joined this district 13 years ago, it was the district to work in. Now it's, well, not.
A friend told me that school hasn't opened yet in British Columbia, Canada, due to a teacher strike. I think this article does a reasonable job of presenting obstacles on both sides:
Pressure is often necessary to break logjams in protracted labour disputes. And pressure is what will be needed for the B.C. government to end a teachers’ strike that has shut down the province’s public education system.It doesn't have to be this way. Oh sure, the u-bots will assume that only an adversarial relationship will resolve pay issues, but I point out that there are states all over the US wherein unions do not wield such power and amicable relationships exist. My point here is that unions aren't always necessary to "protect your rights and paycheck" and lack of a union doesn't necessarily equate to penury.
The B.C. Teachers’ Federation is betting the government will take enough heat from outraged parents struggling to make child-care arrangements that it will either cave in on some of its key demands or impose a legislated settlement. The government, meantime, is calculating that the union will receive enough grief from members having to borrow money to pay bills that it will capitulate on principal points.
It’s difficult imagining the government sticking to its pledge not to legislate teachers back to work if a negotiated settlement can’t be found. It has a statutory obligation to provide public education. There will come a point where the school year is irrevocably compromised if a strike is allowed to continue. It’s uncertain precisely where that point is, but it seems inconceivable the government could allow this dispute to drag on too far into October.
Conversely, it’s unthinkable the union would continue a strike that ultimately it can’t win...
At the moment, however, there isn’t the will to confront the biggest points of contention in this battle. Parents haven’t started getting really cranky about the inconveniences this dispute is inflicting on their lives, and teachers haven’t yet felt enough pain in their wallets. Both the government and the union are pretty comfortable in their positions at the moment.
This will change eventually and children will be back at school. And the relationship between the government and its teachers will remain as hopeless and dysfunctional as ever.
An adversarial relationship, though, on the part of either side, pretty much by definition guarantees bad feelings, a bad environment, and bad faith.
Update: Here's an "alternate" view from the World Socialist Web Site. It would actually be cute if nobody took such people seriously.