Post Academic

Has Disrespect of Teachers Fueled the Wisconsin Union-Busting Attempt?

PhotobucketAnyone who is a teacher or is close to a teacher is keeping track of the protests erupting in Wisconsin as Governor Scott Walker attempts to gut benefits for state employees and take away collective bargaining rights. If you’ll pardon the pun, something strikes me as odd about Walker’s anger toward the unions.

He thinks teachers are an easy target.

Except for police, firefighters and troopers, raises would be limited to inflation unless a bigger increase was approved in a referendum. The non-law enforcement unions would lose their rights to bargain over anything but wages …

Obviously, other non-law enforcement unions are affected, but much of the story has involved the fact that public schools across the state are shut down due to teachers on strike.

Putting straight-up politics aside, why is it that teacher’s unions arouse ire, but police and fire unions tend to escape first-round union attacks? Police and fire departments are vital to our safety. No matter how irate they are about paying taxes, most people don’t want their police and fire department to go on strike. Aren’t teachers valuable to society as well? They are the ones watching kids all day and training them to be productive members of society. So they don’t get the right to negotiate for their wages, while police and fire departments do?

Image from the German Federal Archive, 1982, from Wikimedia Commons under a Creative Commons license.