October 24, 2009

Okay, I'll Bite

Justin Katz

Presumably, Pat Crowley — by his strenuous logical standards — would also believe that we needn't listen to pacifists, or even military minimalists, were we to consider dropping a nuclear bomb on Iran:

Look, if the answer is you simply don't believe teachers have the right to collectively bargain, I wish you would stop beating around the bush and just say it. If so...fine, then there is no need to debate the merits of binding arbitration with you. We can simply move on.

Yes, teachers should have a right to bargain as a collective, but individual teachers should have a right to bargain as individuals, and districts should have a right to construct the policies that will best serve their students and their communities. The unionist might object that the collective couldn't function without including every potential employee, that giving management an alternative would decrease the union's leverage, but we're talking rights, here, not the policies that most benefit labor organizations.

Personally, I believe that unions have become a cesspool of stultifying principles, metastasizing humanity's baser motivations and producing an hospitable environment for evil. I'd further decry the extent to which they tend to weigh public discourse down to the level of reasoning that Crowley exhibits in the linked post (and to which his boss, Bob Walsh, disappointingly gave voice in multiple appearances on WPRO, yesterday).

Only within the acrid womb of such a beast as a public-sector labor union could one be so immune to objectivity as to believe that all statements are necessarily cynical ploys that may be dismissed based on the underlying assumptions of the orator. The bottom line is that binding arbitration will have particular effects on contracts and therefore on municipal and state budgets. The National Education Association of Rhode Island desires those effects. Various allied citizen groups do not. Those who are not yet convinced, either way, should observe the debate and seek what makes sense to them in the exchange.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

OK, Pat "oink, oink" Crowley,
I'll say it, I think that public employee unions should be illegal. In fact, I believe there is a case to be made that they are, in fact, illegal. They remove the ability of municipalities' to act in the best interests of their consituents - the taxpayers. No different than a lawyer who is representing a client, and he tells the other side things that allow them to beat his own client.
On another note, read this little ditty by a college professor who is dismissive of the need for unions amongst those who actually work and provide an honest days work for an honest days pay. As is said, if you are actually working and worth your weight, you don't need or want to be in a union. Bottom line, unions aren't needed - unless you're a lazy bum.

From the Wall Street Journal:

"Do the Muses Need Or Want a Union?

Regarding your editorial "Professors of the World, Unite?" (Oct. 17): I have my Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and I believe that unionizing the UW faculty would severely and permanently damage the university. Here's what the faculty might expect in a unionized world: (1) seniority would trump achievement when determining faculty compensation, (2) many high-profile faculty at nonunion universities around the country would never consider employment at UW, and (3) the university's decision-making process would grind to a near halt, stuck in the molasses of union bureaucracy.

More broadly, I fail to see why any competent professor would want to be part of a union. Competent professors have the research and teaching accomplishments to make them marketable and mobile, and thus protected from bad administrators or misguided universities. With the protection of mobility already in place, why would competent professors want or need a union, especially when the union may produce the damaging effects listed above?

UW faculty, be very careful what you wish for.

Dana R. Hermanson

Kennesaw, Ga."

Oh yeah, and one other thing about Deb Gist and her "attack" on unions. Did you ever think that she actually knows from the inside what a cancer you union pigs are to our education system. She is a former Teacher of the Year - in two states. She is a far more credible individual to steer the ship of education than some union pig.

Posted by: Mike Cappelli at October 24, 2009 10:42 AM

Mike cappellini with another well thought out essay. Thank god we have a genius and wordsmith such as your self to light the way for us. Mike C we need you to run for a position in state gov. You are the man!!!!!!!

Posted by: Sticky at October 24, 2009 11:39 AM

What a well articulated rebuttal and defense of unions you've put forth. Oh, that's right, you didn't/can't put forth a reasoned defense of the unions. So, you're left referring to Alinsky's playbook - Attack the person and not the subject.
You pigs are so transparent.

Posted by: Mike Cappelli at October 24, 2009 12:24 PM

Millions for quality education with our consent, thru the democratic process, not one penny without our consent thru binding arbitration.

Posted by: justasking at October 24, 2009 1:05 PM


The New Tammany Hall: Public sector unions have become a labor aristocracy--and they are bankrupting states and municipalities

"In 1935, Roosevelt signed the Wagner Act, the first peacetime effort to support the growth of private sector unions. Its aim in the words of its sponsor, New York senator Robert Wagner, was 'encouraging the practice and procedure of collective bargaining.' But like his close ally LaGuardia, Roosevelt drew a definite line when it came to government workers. 'Meticulous attention,' the president insisted, 'should be paid to the special relations and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government. .  .  . The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service.' Both men feared that liberalism would be compromised by the unavoidably self-serving nature of public sector unionism."

Posted by: Ragin' Rhode Islander at October 24, 2009 4:12 PM

Didn't get that Sticky was trying to be sarcastic until I read Mike C's response.

I loved the Mike C post. In this state in particular it's always good to be reminded that the best and brightest don't support the unions, only the deadbeats who need protection from the requirement to actually work.

The best and brightest speak and write in a manner that is easily understood by all. The best and brightest inspire through plain speaking forthrightness.

Sticky should take lessons.

Posted by: riborn at October 24, 2009 4:19 PM

Let's make a deal:
Let's do away with binding arbitration for teachers. But let's also do away with the bitching about teachers who work to rule.
I think we can all live with that arrangement.

Posted by: rhody at October 24, 2009 6:27 PM

I am for binding arbitration. I think it will level the playing field, and, that change by itself, will lead to positive results. Presently, teachers have the right to collectively bargain but are restricted legally to withhold their labor. That fact leads to the contract impasses where school committees do not bargain in earnest (preferring the primping and posturing of the politician-think Buddy Cianci) but instead obstruct any resolution. Legally binding arbitration will force both sides to deal honestly- in order to avoid arbitration, or, when arbitration arrives, to present a defensible and winning argument.

Posted by: David S at October 24, 2009 7:09 PM

With the way people talk about how the school committees, you'd think that teachers are getting fired left and right and are standing on street corners begging for nickels. When was the last time a school committee and a teachers union couldn't come to an agreement and the entire union was fired? How come that never happens? Why doesn't some town just one time tell a union "your services are no longer needed" and then post every single job in the town for the following year? Start over. They'd probably get as many applications as Democracy Prep in Cumberland, where they received over 100 applications for just 8 positions. Many of which from RI teachers. If all these teachers believe in the union way, then why were there so many people applying to a non-union shop?

Posted by: Patrick at October 24, 2009 8:00 PM

Yeah, and to add to Patrick's list, David S, if the playing field is currently level, why is it that teacher salaries in Rhode Island are in the top 20% nationally while student achievement is in the bottom 20%?

Posted by: Monique at October 24, 2009 9:03 PM

No really mike cappellini you should run for office. I was not being sarcastic. With a smart fellow like yourself on our side we will surely win and vanquish the union trash back to the caves they belong in. I,like you Mikey would never resort to name calling and instigation to get my point across.

Posted by: Sticky at October 24, 2009 9:48 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Important note: The text "http:" cannot appear anywhere in your comment.