In New York, the head of the Elmira’s teachers’ union has admitted to plagiarism. The Star-Gazette reports that Ric Lombardini’s opinion piece “Teachers are held to unrealistic standards,” which was published in the Star-Gazette, was plagiarized nearly word for word. Students in the district found guilty of plagiarism could be suspended, but Lombardini will face no disciplinary action from the district since, according to the superintendent, the issue is a union matter. The irony of the headline shouldn’t go unnoticed, and it’s worth asking to what standards if any this sixth-grade teacher and union president will be held.
In another example of union leadership run amuck, last week the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC) leadership endorsed Kathleen Falk as the Democratic challenger to Gov. Scott Walker (R). Should a recall election take place, the WEAC endorsed Falk on the condition that she promises to veto the budget reforms instituted by Gov. Scott Walker. Just hours after the endorsement was announced a petition on change.org was posted demanding that the union rescind its endorsement. Liberty News Network reported WEAC members were not pleased with the endorsement, because Falk has previously lost two statewide elections, finishing dead last in one and telling blatant lies about her opponent in the other. According to petition comments WEAC members also were upset that a candidate was endorsed so early and that they did not have a voice in the decision.
Members of the Hartford County Education Association (HCEA) in Maryland also have a good reason to be upset with their union leaders. According to The Baltimore Sun, County Executive David R. Craig offered a $1,250 bonus to each county employee after finding a surplus in the FY12 budget. Eight of the county’s employee unions quickly accepted the offer, but the HCEA rejected the offer because Craig did not run it by the union first, undermining the union’s collective bargaining rights according to the HCEA’s president. Craig said he is willing to negotiate the bonus with HCEA, but that if an agreement is not reached by March 1 the money will be returned to the general fund and the teachers’ union members will not receive their bonuses. In a union-free environment an employee would be happy to receive a bonus. The same is probably true in a unionized job as well, but at the end of the day it’s the union’s, not the employee’s or employer’s decision.