My wife’s a teacher (In Defense of Teachers) and I respect teachers immensely. Most of them are great and work selflessly for less than they could make in private industry. Like any profession, there are bad apples and unfortunately, like most organized unions, their leadership acts as though they live in a vacuum and would sooner bankrupt their communities and the state coffers (ultimately, Federal coffers since our federal government keeps bailing out the states) than make the same sacrifices the rest of the developed world is making in the context of the current economic malaise.
The way Chris Christie dispensed with this showboating teacher at a town hall meeting was truly priceless – and emblematic of his leadership. He says what he means and he means what he says. He doesn’t mince words. And he tells the truth. I’m struggling to find another politician to compare him to since they’re primarily focused on lying and sleight of hand to “energize their base” and win the next election (priority #1 above all else). He obviously doesn’t give a damn about the next election, refuses to cave to unions, and is making tough cuts to try and repair New Jersey’s abysmal financial situation.
Please watch this video. It will be well worth the 9 minutes of your life you spent watching to understand what’s really going on with public sector unions all over the country:
(I just listened to this again…it’s great. Really focus on the financial piece)
Why Union Leadership Should be Ashamed
Don’t you always hear unions lambasting corporate executives for making too much money? Those fatcat bankers? Well, according to this recent report, the Head of the Teachers’ Union made $550,000 in total compensation last year! More than double the governor!?! And for what? All he really did was preside over thousands of layoffs because the union refused to buy into a simple 1.5% healthcare contribution and a 1 year salary freeze. This is a figure who doesn’t actually teach. He doesn’t create anything. He simply represents teachers – on your dime as a taxpayer (we pay their salaries after all, which go right into the union dues).
It’s All About the Kids…Right.
I don’t know about you, but besides teachers and some other public union roles, I don’t know of any professions that contribute nothing to their healthcare expenses, especially in the face of 6-10% annual increases for years on end. And a 1 year salary freeze? Tons of people are either getting no raise each year, or they’re just plain getting laid off. I know, I get it, public unions will claim that for all these years, they’ve accepted lower salaries in exchange for cushy benefits. That’s actually untrue. There is ample evidence demonstrating that similarly employed/skilled union workers also make more than private sector workers. So that’s bunk. Oh, and a full pension to boot. With life expectancy what it is, those pensions are 7 figure giveaways! Unions are acting as though they operate in a vacuum. States are broke, we have companies like Borders going out of business left and right and the future projections are even worse!
I’m sorry, but this is nuts! I know that the way a union leader gets elected is to fight for their people and basically take everything they can from the public (or corporation for private sector unions) and transfer it to their constituents. That’s what their constituents elected them to do. The whole system’s screwed up. But the union leadership should take some accountability for what happened in New Jersey. It wasn’t Christie that laid off teachers, it was the union’s miscalculation and unrealistic demands that put several great, young teachers on the street.