Scapegoating teachers’ unions once again

The National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers have indicated they would consider striking if schools reopen without proper safety protections (“Will Unions Let Schools Reopen?” The Wall Street Journal, June 30).  But leave it to union busters to conflate that legitimate concern with unfunded pension obligations.

With revenues plummeting because of Covid 19, states will be forced to slash spending, which means that unless Washington steps in with additional funding, teachers will likely be asked to increase their pension contributions, have their salaries frozen, or see their colleagues laid off.  So what is really behind the threat of a strike is not safety concerns but financial ones, according to union busters.

Once again teachers’ unions are depicted as the villains who are interested primarily in what is good for them.  But the truth is that teachers have carried out their end of the bargain by contributing to their defined-benefit plans.  The hole exists because state legislators have not done their part.  Trying to link school safety with pension obligations is outrageous.

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2 Replies to “Scapegoating teachers’ unions once again”

  1. Seems likely that teachers are concerned re all the factors — safety (their own and their families’), salary cuts, pension cuts, pension contribution increases, layoffs, increased pupil load, and increased work load generally. These are all legitimate concerns.

    Absent unions, it’s very easy for employers (private or govt) to shift the burden of covid onto the employees. We see that in the media coverage the reopening of all restaurants and bars where it’s just assumed that the employees will all come back to work and be exposed to whatever covid germs the customers are broadcasting — lots of discussion in the media re the dangers to the customers and to the general public re the reopening of the restaurants/bars and lots of discussion in the media re the financial pressures on the restaurant/bar owners, but virtually zero discussion re the interests of the restaurant/bar employees.


  2. Labor Lawyer: Without unions, workers in all areas would be helpless in protecting themselves. Teachers are no different in this regard. What I find so outrageous is the claim that teachers are more interested in their pensions than anything else.


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