THE CHICAGO TEACHER SYNDICATE

FRANK CAMP

Over the last few months and really the last year, we have been hearing about many strikes throughout the country as Republican leaders stand up to the public sector Unions. There has been backlash against New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and extraordinarily violent backlash against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. The war just seems to be heating up. If you think these are nominal, isolated incidents, you are dead wrong.

Let me begin by clarifying. I am not against Unions overall, I am against public sector Unions. Unions created for jobs in the public sector are dangerous because they promote a cycle. What cycle is that, you may ask? A cycle of mutual benefit. You see, in a private sector Union, workers are fighting for pay raises, healthcare coverage, benefits, etc, from a Boss that wants to save money an has no vested interest in providing raises and benefits for his employees if it comes at too high a price. The Boss (if he’s any good) will attempt to strike a balance while working at all costs to keep the Union demands in check and the Unions will fight tooth and nail for every penny and benefit they feel they deserve. This system keeps a  check and balance in place; employer vs employee.

In the public sector, the relationship is quite different. This is how the cycle operates in the public sector: the Unions demand (more money, more benefits, more whatever) and the “Boss” (Who in the case of public sector Unions is a Governor, state representative or President), provides them with whatever they want. This ensures that the sitting “Boss” will get the vote of those Union members come the next election cycle. When that election is over, and the “Boss” has gotten those votes and the Unions rise up again to demand even more, that “Boss” then acquiesces to the demands of those Unions by once again giving them what they demand. There is no check; there is no balance; it is a criminal syndicate. 

In case you can’t tell, this is a sick cycle. This is a cycle that is rotting our country from the inside as it syphons more and more cash out of our collective and metaphorical gas tank. As this cycle continues, governments (state and federal) become further and further burdened by debt, and our country falls like a drunk into the gutter after nine too many scotches. But at least those in power get to stay in power and the Union workers get everything they want, right? Well, yes. But at what cost? 

The cost, as mentioned above in brief, is extraordinary. According to the New York Daily News (and other sites, if you have fingers to Google), the average public sector government employee makes 21% more in wages and benefits than their private sector counterparts. This is directly reflected in our taxes. We (the taxpayers) are the true employers of the public sector Unions. The rate of tenure in the public sector ranges from 37% to 97%. This tenure track that is fostered by the public sector Unions encourages poor performance. This is just one statistic, mind you. There are infinite other examples. 

If employees perform poorly in the private sector, they are fired. In the public sector, they are rewarded, or at the very least, not punished. And in case you think that this isn’t that big a deal, simply follow the money.

This is a quote from the NY Daily News: 
“And the political power of public workers is undeniable: The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees spent $87.5 million in the 2010 election, leading all independent groups.”

The sheer power and influence of these Unions is remarkable and dangerous. According to the NY Times, the president of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., George Meany said this: “It is impossible to bargain collectively with the government.”

Interesting. However, that quote was from 1955, several years prior to the concept of collective bargaining entering the public sector’s field of vision.

President Roosevelt said this in 1937: “The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place” in the public sector. “A strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government.”

Even FDR, the Liberal bastion, strongly believed that the public sector was no place for Unions and collective bargaining of said Unions. This belief; this understanding was actually commonplace during the 1950’s. It wasn’t until 1959 that things started to change, beginning in Wisconsin.

All of this is simply a buildup to my main argument: The teachers Union strike in Chicago is a vile, selfish example of everything that is wrong with public sector Unions. 

According to the NY Times, the average salary of Chicago teachers is approximately $76,000 a year. According to the Unions, the average base salary is $68,000 a year, prior to benefits. This is nearly double the average salary of the majority of Chicago residents. 

The striking teachers just proposed a 17% raise that would roll out over the next four years. In addition, according to CNN, the teachers Union is deeply troubled over proposed changes to the system by which they would be evaluated. According to the proposed changes, the teachers would be evaluated by student performance. The teachers are outraged because they believe that outside influences effect student performance more than they ever could, and they would therefore be evaluated unfairly. This, they say, would lead to unjust firings and undeserved losses.

According to CNN, this is part of what the teachers are being offered: “The pay structure would change with a 3% pay hike for the first year of the contract, 2% for the second year and 2% for the third year. If a trigger extends the contract to four years, teachers would get a 3% pay increase. Union members would no longer be compensated for unused personal days, health insurance contribution rates will be frozen and the “enhanced pension program” is being eliminated.”
This is of course in addition to the proposed evaluation changes being put on the table.

Normally, being that he is a Democrat and needs the votes, the Mayor would be in lock-step with the teachers Union, but being that Chicago is running at break-neck speed toward insolvency, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has turned against the Union. Interesting that the Obama administration is strangely silent on this issue. That is because it divides Obama’s interests. Obama absolutely needs the votes of the Union members, and Mayor Emanuel is a former cabinet member. Support Rahm? Or support the Union? Staying silent is an implicit support of this strike. Sorry, Rahm. Womp Womp.

This is a prime example of the damage that a mutually beneficial public sector Union system can cause. This strike is just the most recent in a string of strikes in states like Wisconsin, etc. The public sector Unions, specifically the teachers Union in this case, are bankrupting this country with their selfishness and greed. This greed is part of all public sector Unions. Perhaps these Unions started with good intent back many years ago, but they have become a bloated pig, gorging on our tax dollars. 

New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie has taken these Unions head on, with bi-partisan support. This has achieved great success in his state. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have designs to do the same. It CAN be done. In the end, it comes to this: do you want a president who is part of the syndicate, or a president who will break it up?

Please support the fight against public sector Unions, and vote Romney/Ryan on November 6th.

COPYRIGHT © 2012 FRANK CAMP

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8 Responses to THE CHICAGO TEACHER SYNDICATE

  1. Samuel says:

    Keep on writing. We need more conservative writers in this country. Your article was right on target.

  2. It is interesting to note that the purpose of a union, to give workers better working conditions, establish fair pay, etc., has already been achieved through LAW. Why are they still around? As a political syphon.

  3. xPraetorius says:

    On the nose, Frank! Some good, punchy bons mots, good history and good detail. I like your examples a lot. We can’t hear often enough that FDR, that icon of the left, was decidedly, four-square against publish sector unions. I have a strong belief that we can turn this country around, and it will be because of strong, informed, intelligent, young conservative voices such as yours. I think you have a great future in blogging / commuications — the written arts. Very, VERY encouraging to see people like you making yourselves heard.

    I WILL point readers your way.

    — xPraetorius

  4. Pingback: THE CHICAGO TEACHER SYNDICATE « RubinoWorld

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