Megan writes about some union silliness. I, too, have mixed feelings about unions, mainly because I think they’re a very inefficient way to achieve the goals progressives want them to achieve.
But my general ambivalence about “unions,” is rapidly becoming total antipathy for a particular union, namely, the Washington Teachers Union. Of this union my wife is a member, though not by choice. The pettiness of this organization knows no bounds. As best I can tell, it does not have the interests of the city, the schools, the children, or even the teachers in mind.
Many of us shook our heads when the WTU tried to deny schools chancellor Michelle Rhee the ability to fire members of the magnificently bloated staff of the central office, even though those staff members are not a part of the union. Ostensibly, this was because the WTU was worried that the teachers might be next. In practice, a bloated central office makes teachers’ jobs much, much harder, while simultaneously siphoning off resources which could go toward the education of children. So the union lobbied to make all its members worse off, in order to (maybe) protect the jobs of a handful of teachers, who in all probability deserved the ax themselves. Bravo.
Anyway, I bring this up because the wife was telling me the other night about the latest union shenanigans. Last Friday, forecasters called for a winter storm, which ended up completely fizzling. Every area school system, with the exception of the District, got the day off. Mayor Fenty has said he’d only delay or cancel schools if he absolutely had to, and as it turned out he didn’t, because the sleet overnight didn’t stick to the roads and it was above freezing in the city the entire day. Good call, Mayor Fenty, right?
No. Because the teachers aren’t busy enough teaching, and handling administrative tasks, and calling central office to figure out why all the forms related to various certification processes have been lost or improperly handled, the Washington Teachers Union has been asking them to write letters to the Mayor, berating him for making the entirely correct decision to keep schools open on a school day.