Just Let Me -- G -- Indoctrinate You!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Dear America,

Unions should be outlawed.

"...this is about our right to collectively bargain!"  
a teacher 
somewhere in Wisconsin

So what you're saying is, this is about your privilege to have a good, decent job in America (in the worst of times), and when push comes to shove, you feel, in order to be heard and have your expectations fulfilled, you will protest, use tactics similar to black mail, advocate students to act on your behalf, and come to the point where you choose to cease providing such service altogether; the service, teaching America's children, an enviable position for which you are handsomely paid -- including a boatload of benefits, pension and health care for life --  comes to a complete halt for as long as it takes, jeopardizing your own students education, using your position as a public servant, more or less, as a bargaining chip -- held out until all your needs are met.

You all must have been taking your cues from the Middle East...

This is a situation where our republic gets held hostage; under the guise of democracy in action -- in radical form and formula, workers of the world collectively unite, whether or not it undermines the process, whether or not it disrupts the education of our children, whether or not it takes a day or three months. They unite, in for the long haul and whatever it takes.

Don't they know how lucky they really are?

The real world doesn't even come close to being able to offer the kinds of benefits these teachers take for granted.

What is happening to us?

Where is the collective concern for the long term feasibility and ability to stay afloat for the state? 

This isn't what Wisconsin wants to do, as if they have a choice -- the financial reality staring the governor in the face is non-negotiable, too far gone, already a situation that it leaves them no other choice.  Let me be clear, this is about not enough revenue and having too many expenses; this is a taxpayer problem (aren't teachers taxpayers too?); there is not enough money in the world to follow through with the promises made to union members, and we are just seeing the beginning of it (while only adding to it, is the new "Affordable Care Law" projecting costs that many states are already well under way legally fighting to opt out).

"The bill, which also bans collective bargaining rights for teachers, requires educators to contribute 5.8 percent to their pensions and 12.6 percent to their health care. Currently, educators pay 0.2 percent for their pensions and 4 to 6 percent of their health care costs."
point two percent is paid into their own pension.  POINT two percent...unbelievable.
averaging five percent contribution to cover their health care costs...wonder who covers the rest?

STATES are broke...
let's see, would these teachers rather be let go?  would they rather have higher student to teacher ratios?  would they rather have furlough days?  would they rather have their pensions just go belly up after states go bankrupt?

Unions are so keen on the collective bargaining for their own -- but what happens when it fractures the stability of the whole?
Weaving this conversation into the discussion from just yesterday, is this the kind of behavior we can come to expect under the new collective bargaining tools made available now to our TSA's, possibly jeopardizing our ability to safely and freely travel?

While the real life salary range for teachers is hardly something to complain about... 
"According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2008, the average salary for an elementary school teacher was $51, 240 while middle school educators earned $50,950 and high school teachers earned $49, 400."
adding to that reality, a cushy schedule, a bevy of holidays, weeks of vacation...really?

And when Obama, Mr. Union Label Lover himself, weighed in on the Wisconsin deal, he said this, :"this seems like more an assault on unions to me" --so  rest assured, his administration is carefully monitoring the situation.

IN every way this country seems to "progress", we go two steps back.

How about our teachers move to Egypt to find work and get paid $50,000/year for teaching elementary math and the ABC's?  Good luck with that.  And considering the reality that is coming out of our standardized testing across the country, perhaps we are paying way too much to begin with.

How about, if it isn't conscionable for you to see fit paying a wee bit more for your overpriced pension upon  retirement, you get nothing?  (and considering now, by all evidence of your recent behavior, being clearly not worthy of a dime in this very moment...)  But the reality is, nothing will be what's left in the coffers when you finally reach that ripe old age of 65 -- or will it be 68 or 70 even?  oooh that's a number up in the air now isn't it.

Now, don't get me wrong, I love teachers; my daughter has had the pleasure of having stellar educators leave their mark over the years, some leaving a lasting good impression, others simply mentoring her to the next level with ease, building upon her maturity and skills as the years go by, arming her with all that she would ever need to begin her high school years taking honor classes and ready for anything (of course, she also has parents making her do her homework and expecting her to do her very best...hmmmm....which came first, the chicken or the egg? but I digress)
And for myself, twice in my life, I have taught preschool, making under ten dollars an hour, gratefully employed by one of the most well financed and organized franchises offering preschool and daycare services in the country --  KinderCare.  
Teachers are challenged to use not only what they know to teach what they know, but in ways that constantly require creativity, accountability, and a personal commitment to give it everything they've got, everyday, even when, as we all know, children of all ages can test our ability to keep cool, calm and collected (oh the irony on that last thought).

The thing is, the United States of America was never intended to run under union rules and thuggery.

These actions, happening more and more each day, will ruin the good that we got left.  And that's just a fact.

Even within my own democratically controlled state of California, we now have a governor-- who, by the way, has a LONG history of being friendly to UNIONS, all the way around -- is even considering making changes to the choke-hold unions have upon the fiscal bottom line -- there is no way to avoid it when facing BILLIONS of dollars in deficits, breaking corporations backs with increasing regulations to the point of losing them altogether, and dealing with a growing entitlement population by the minute.  

Something's gotta give and our Jerry Brown knows it (I think, don't quote me, Jerry's jury is still out).

Unions have staged and financed each and every protest that have walked our streets, stomped on CEO lawns,  providing for every poster, lunch and/or bus  -- even jumping state lines if they have to (go back and review Arizona/California union relations, about the time the AZ immigration law was enacted, and funny, low and behold featuring a large number of teachers).
The thing is, America has always been different -- kind of a cut above how the rest of the world deals with the ugly details of contracts, negotiations, benefits and long term commitments -- treating both sides of the table equally and fairly and equitably has been handled deftly and swiftly more often than not.  Picketing and Walk-Outs has never been the norm; in the past,  it's been highly frowned upon and used as a method of last resort.  
But something tells me, things have changed.

Having a community organizer in the highest office of the land kind of validates such moves of fundamental transformation, whether it comes via the grass roots fueled by a cause, or fully funded and endorsed by billions of union dues -- either way, making us look more and more like the middle east everyday.
and to think, I was going to continue my rant on the 2012 budget today -- consider it a hostile takeover of the agenda, ya just never know these days when rules for radicals devotees pop their ugly head.

Make it a Good Day, G

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