Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

Maybe the System’s the Problem

Front-page news in today’s Washington Post: D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee has signed an agreement with Washington Teachers Union President George Parker giving Rhee authority to reassign all “excessed” teachers at 23 D.C. schools that are set to close. This may sound rather arcane, but in the world of D.C. public education this is a big deal.

What makes the story blogworthy, however, is a statement by WTU trustee Candi Peterson, a critic of Parker’s, who expressed concern on behalf of older “excessed” teachers that “when they go for an interview, they won’t get picked up [because principals] will get two younger teachers for their salaries.”

The problem here is not that older teachers aren’t guaranteed jobs. The problem is the union demand that teachers be paid by seniority. Pay teachers according to how well they teach (a system which will generally benefit experienced teachers, incidentally) and you won’t have the perverse incentives Peterson alludes to.

Click over to to see more about problems with the typical union contract.

Categories: Teachers UnionsUncategorized