Why not challenge anti-labor laws in court?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by AmyMyNamey, May 31, 2016.

  1. AmyMyNamey

    AmyMyNamey Comrade

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    May 31, 2016

    NEA exalts protection of its ability to collect fees from non-members (Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association) as a victory.

    It's a victory for NEA. Not for teachers.

    Public sector employees losing the right to bargain working conditions, pay, and benefits are the greater threat to teachers themselves. Believe me, once states start taking away any of those rights, they do not stop, not until public sector employees have nothing left—not even their basic human dignity.

    Why doesn't NEA challenge these "laws" in court?

    What are we paying dues for?

    I often question where that money goes. NEA will sue to keep collecting dues. But will they sue to protect teachers?

    Or are they on board with privatization?
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Hmm.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2016
  4. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    An organization can be a plaintiff in a lawsuit only where the organization itself has been harmed or is in imminent danger of being harmed. This is why the school-desegregation lawsuit wasn't NAACP v. Board of Ed, but Brown v. Board of Ed. A union can't suffer harm from bad working conditions for the simple reason that it can't be an employee.
     
  5. AmyMyNamey

    AmyMyNamey Comrade

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    So we need a single teacher wealthy enough to stand up to an entire state in a protracted legal battle?
     
  6. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    A class-action lawsuit requires a lead defendant, but it doesn't need to be 100% out of pocket.
     
  7. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Just someone of unimpeachable character that a union could pay for the legal fight of
     
  8. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    What exactly would you suggest they sue them for?
     
  9. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I believe in union membership. In NJ our union fights a tough battle against a blowhard governor who is dead set against preserving our hard won pension, healthcare benefits and tenure.
     
  10. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Yeah, union membership is a great thing in states where unions have even a modicum of strength and are willing to use it.
     
  11. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Only as strong as the membership. We all have a role to play in advocating for what we do for our students and communities. We need to be strong and proactive, professional and constantly aware of the 'climate'
     
  12. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    My union just refused to add 3 work days to our calendar that would have been paid at our full rate. This would have taken us back to where we were before the union cried mercilessly about furlough days that shortened our calendar.

    I don't see how that advocates for our students or our community.
     
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  13. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    What were their reasons against the furlough? Did any include impact on students?
     
  14. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Publicly yes, their complaints were that it was robbing students of educational days. Privately it was more about paychecks.

    This year they just wanted more money without the days. District called them on it and we ended up with neither.
     
  15. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    In negotiations the goal is usually a pay raise with minimal give backs.
     
  16. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Of course it is, that's my point. It isn't about the students and community. It's about getting whatever we can for ourselves.
     
  17. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Why is it that teachers are the only profession expected to think of others before themselves? And why is it seen as a bad thing for teachers to try and fight for their own rights and benefits?
     
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  18. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    I don't think it is a bad thing, I just despise when other teachers or admin use the phrase "do what is right for kids", just call it what it is, I want a pay raise.
     
  19. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    The teaching profession isn't the only profession expected to think of others first. The difference is they have the ability to hold a larger segment of the population hostage at a single time than any other profession. Plus it is the only profession where those the provide the service for is required to attend.

    Rockkev's example is a perfect example of how the profession gives itself a bad name with its hypocritical bargaining tactics.

    Police, firemen, nurses, and doctors, etc are all expected to put those they serve first. Nurses strikes were never looked upon as positive when they were making way above the median pay wage and asking for more where I grew up. They would strike and short staff the hospitals and the patients wouldn't get the care they deserved. For a long time where I grew up, nurses were not looked upon in a good light because of their "bargaining" tactics. They too claimed it was all about the patients but what they wanted was more money and more time off.

    Any time you use those you are supposed to serve as pawns, your character is questioned.

    I guess I could ask why we don't praise parents who are divorcing or divorced for their fabulous tactics to use the kids as pawns to get what they want ? (sometimes what the spouse is asking for is well deserved)
     
  20. AmyMyNamey

    AmyMyNamey Comrade

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    When your district can extend your work day, assign you petty and demeaning duties, force you to walk your boss' dog and take his kids to school for him, then it's not about pay raises. It's about being treated with proper human dignity and respect.

    If my children are not reduced to living in a shed and eating dog food, I'm not committed enough? What kind of crap is that? I've not seen a pay raise in over a decade. Am I selfish to want a decent life while I sacrifice any hope of personal success for the sake of my city's children?

    Was it best to tolerate slavery, because it was part of the national "climate?"

    And a union does suffer direct harm when its representatives are no longer allowed to negotiate fair and legal contracts. I fail to see how this is any kind of stretch of the imagination. Perhaps if I was an administrator who hated teachers or was working for Pearson, I'd be delighted at the current state of affairs, and argue how perfectly reasonable it all was.

    Public employees are public servants, not public slaves. States do not take away tenure, due process, and collective bargaining to improve education; they do so to create a new class of wage slaves.

    I don't pay union dues that I might carry a picket sign and beg for a little humanity. I don't pay dues for a quarterly newsletter. I pay dues so that I can focus on my job, without constant harassment and degradation.

    I am losing faith in NEA. I doubt I am alone right now.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2016
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  21. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Amy, using extreme examples to support the general issue doesn't do anything to gain support for your argument. Walking the admin's dog or having to take the admin's children to school goes beyond any acceptable employment obligations nor does your contract allow for those duties because neither are duties that are duties that will further the education of students and outside any job description. If that is what is happening, then you need to get a lawyer, say no, and when there are negative repercussions, take legal measures.

    It concerns me that you don't know your legal rights as an employee and the difference between what a contract can protect you from and what it can't. No contract can stop someone from doing something or asking something of you. The contract gives you the right to fight the action via legal measures. There is no contract that allows a teacher to be a personal assistant to the personal needs of the admin. While you might not be able to fight a required evening conference or performance, no contract for teachers would stand up to being forced to walk the dog. It might require you to clean a fish tank if it one in the school set up for science, and you are the science teacher.
     
  22. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    So certain people shouldn't fight for better work conditions. The tactics of the nurses bothered you. Would it have bothered you if the plumbers' union did the exact same thing? Or should people in direct care-taking positions just be expected to accept whatever is given to them?

    As far as the median income angle, that bothers me, too. Nurses (particularly those with a BSN) have more education and training than the median workforce member. Teachers in many states are required to either have a Master's, or to be actively working towards a Master's. So, no, I'm not planning on apologizing for the fact that my salary is... Well... About half the median income of the community I work in... But more than the median income of the US as a whole. I'm also planning on expecting that my salary keep pace with Cost of Living.
     
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  23. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Yes, it would bother me if the plumber's were able to hold customers hostage and use them as pawns, but the comparison isn't quite the same as mandatory education or illness that requires hospitalization. See, education is not a few hour job and not getting proper medical care can lead to permanent disability or death. A plumbing job, in most cases is a few hour job. Plumbers also can't stay in business if they push the envelope too far because someone will pop up and do the service for a more affordable rate or find a friend who can do the job on their own.

    Kids don't have a choice in the matter when it comes to education. Community members must pay taxes regardless of how the schools function. So, while people have the choice to send their kids to public school, they have to pay for that public school regardless of whether they use it.

    Are you advocating that teachers should get paid based on the median pay of the community in which they work? That suggests that teachers in impoverished communities where the median is much less than what you make should be making much less.
     
  24. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Working 175 days a year isn't a right. Making my own choices IS (or at least should be) a right. If I want to do 3 extra days of PD to both serve my students and make more money I should be able to. Instead, a bargaining team made the decision on my behalf.

    I agree with how Pashtun put it. I'm fine with asking for more money - just don't pretend that it is anything other than that. We're so good at playing the "it's for the kids!" card that we had better expect it to get played right back on us.
     
  25. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    We put forth A LOT within our contracted hours. Respect that. And if we give it away for free that's what becomes the expectation. Cow free milk analogy
     
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  26. jadorelafrance

    jadorelafrance Cohort

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    And beyond our contracted hours.
     
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  27. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    Our district uses a negotiation strategy called Interest Based Bargaining. We look at all sides of an issue, and write them down, and then try to make the best decision for the greatest good.

    I love working with our Association, but I get awfully tired of members who contribute nothing, won't read a newsletter, answer a short survey or attend a meeting, and then complain.
     
  28. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    It wasn't free. They offered us 3.5%, equivalent to our daily rate for those 3 days plus their offered 2.5% overall increase.
     
  29. AmyMyNamey

    AmyMyNamey Comrade

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    What I described wasn't hyperbole. These things are happening right now.

    And if it happens in my town, it will happen in yours, next.

    It's time the millions we pay into dues is used to put up an actual fight. If I hired a landscaper who did nothing but complain and leave me to do all my own landscaping, what would be the sense? What are we paying dues for?
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2016

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