Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

Doing it for the kids?

The leaders of teachers unions often say that they want to help kids. Somehow, they’re just looking out for the young ones by blocking reforms like merit pay and changes to tenure. And by putting $25 million in federal funding at risk because they don’t want to work a full week:

That announcement was made this afternoon by Grand Rapids school administrators, who said they failed to reach a labor agreement with the teachers union to implement turnaround plans in five troubled city schools.

The failure jeopardizes a $25 million federal school improvement grant available to the district, administrators said. The state had set today as a deadline for submitting turnaround plans.

Requiring teachers in those five schools to move to a 40-hour work week, up from 33.6 hours, was a main sticking point, board President Senita Lenear revealed today.

Teachers unions are doing it for the kids! That’s why they’re instituting “work to rule” in cities with labor strife across the country, right? Like in Detroit:

The president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers has instructed some teachers to stop writing lesson plans, stop grading students and to not attend parent-teacher conferences.

Or in Berkshire, Massachusetts:

The 600-member United Teachers of Pittsfield (UEP) voted on and are now under a “work to rule” provision in an effort the union hopes will jump-start negotiations, according to union president Scott Eldridge. Teachers who work to rule strictly follow the terms of the previous contract and don’t volunteer to provide extra help for students or work on school activities beyond what is required of them in that contract.

But hey, I guess we should just take Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, at her word when she says that “We are doing our part to help kids succeed.” Because nothing screams success like doing the bare minimum amount of work, right?

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