I Helped a Teachers Union Once

by Jeff Swanson

For the sake of full disclosure, my late wife was a grade school teacher. She was in a teachers union and they did, in fact, have a strike.

…and I helped.

I wasn’t on the picket line or anything. I didn’t even bring them coffee or donuts. The teachers made t-shirts and buttons. I donated a logo to the cause. A rather nice logo I might add.

Yesterday I drove to downtown Chicago. It was a nice, clear morning and I was fighting traffic on what’s known in Chicago as ‘The Kennedy’. The event, if you will, that has me discussing Chicago is the gaggle of shouting teachers standing abreast The Kennedy upon the Foster Avenue bridge. I think it was Foster anyway. Nonetheless, it was an overpass spanning the Kennedy.

I was being shouted at from above. I have no idea what was being shouted. It’s immaterial since I’m not an actual Chicago resident. Just a passerby. Interesting choice for a strike that, an interstate overpass.

In all fairness, if I could strike against Chicago traffic, I would. Perhaps this was rally of ‘Teachers Against Roadway Pausing’. TARP. I suspect that’s been taken though.

I was being shouted at and I couldn’t hear why. Seems it was that Chicago Teachers Union strike (CTU) I’d heard about.

There was a point here, where was was it? Oh yes, protesting when you work less hours, make more money than most people and in an economy where so many need a job seems a bit gauche, wouldn’t you say?

I think the galling part is the Chicago Public School’s performance. Is it appropriate to ask for more if you aren’t able to do your job half the time?

Which brings me to my support of the local Teachers Union.

You see, the district I supported performs very, very well. Often the recipient of national recognition…and the teachers were less well compensated than surrounding districts. In business terms, they were undervalued in the market and were outperforming their earnings. A low educational P&E ratio.

With all the squawking from conservatives about unions and the apparent demon teachers unions, it’s forgotten that most do a pretty stand up job. We demonize all for the action of the few (thousand, in the case of Chicago).

I vote for local tax increases for education. I don’t even have kids.

I was cross with the CTU because they were complaining that they wanted more money, to work less and yet they do their job poorly. Explain that one to your boss on next year’s job review; that you deserve a raise but require the increase to include a shorter work day and that you really only have to do your work half the time.

Teaching is hard. A dedicated teacher is taxed all day by their job and it is important one. I watched my wife spend hours at night grading papers and writing assessments and making report cards. Anyone who knew her as a teacher, often make the point to tell me how stellar she was. To be honest, she deserved the summer off. She was the best kind of dedicated.

I’d always be willing to pay for that. Who wouldn’t?

So I went behind enemy lines and consorted with the ‘other side’. They’re quite a fun bunch, I might add.

As a conservative that’s rather leery of unions, I supported one. I will support anyone that does their job well. We all should.

2 thoughts on “I Helped a Teachers Union Once

  1. Pingback: Unions Have Declared Open Season – So What? | The Rightward Journal

  2. Pingback: Employees, Union Workers and the GOP’s Big Miss | The Rightward Journal

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