Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

WSJ Editorial Board Slams Teachers Unions

A few days ago, The Wall Street Journal‘s Editorial Board slammed the New York-based United Federation of Teachers (UFT), which is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers. The Editorial Board specifically criticized the UFT’s efforts to reinstate poor teachers “who couldn’t be fired but no one wanted.” Here’s how the editorial began:

For decades the United Federation of Teachers has protected perverts, drunkards and other classroom miscreants from being fired. Now the union’s allies plan to put some of these teachers back in New York City schools.


On Monday the city’s Department of Education said it will require city schools to fill between 300 and 400 vacancies from the Absent Teacher Reserve, or ATR. This is the politically sanitized name for the “rubber rooms” where teachers who couldn’t be fired but no one wanted would sit from 8:15 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. collecting a paycheck as they napped or played cards. After a horrified public learned of the practice, the city abolished rubber rooms in 2010.


But many of those same teachers are now in ATR, which is no long a physical room but remains a form of employment limbo. Some teachers are there because their last school closed. But trained, licensed teachers in ATR can apply for vacant positions in 1,700 other public schools. If a teacher can’t find another job in such a large system, there’s probably a good reason principals don’t want him.

Scathing to say the least. The Editorial Board also reiterated that “New York fired a mere 61 of its 78,000 teachers over a decade,” confirming how teachers unions protect the poorest teachers at the expense of students. You can read the editorial in full here.

Categories: AFTTeachers Unions